EDITHVALE ASPENDALE will be forced to play in an elimination final this weekend, after their loss to Sorrento in the final round of the season saw them drop down to fourth place.
Both sides traded blows in a tight first half, with just four points separating the two sides at the main break.
Things remained close in the third term, and with scores level going into the final quarter the game looked set to go down to the wire.
In tough conditions, the Sharks kicked ahead and held on to claim a hard fought victory at Regents Park, with the final score reading 9.9 (57) to 9.13 (67).
Michael Meehan performed valiantly for Edi-Asp with three goals, while Daniel Grant was at his silky best for Sorrento playing off half back.
The win saw Sorrento finish on top of the ladder and earn a first week bye for finals.
The result is a devastating one for the Eagles, who had been in second place since 24 June before slipping down to third last weekend. They will now have to play off against Frankston YCW in a do or die clash at Chelsea Reserve on Saturday afternoon.
Their place in third spot has been taken by Pines, who had their incredible form rewarded with a second chance in finals. They overtook the Eagles by beating Bonbeach at Eric Bell Reserve.
Bonbeach kept touch with Pines early, but after quarter time the game became a one sided affair.
Pines piled on the goals to open up a big lead over Bonbeach, with Aaron Edwards contributing seven majors to the scoreboard. Edwards’ haul saw him finish on top of the goal kicking leaderboard for the year, with a total of 59.
The final siren sounded with Pines well and truly ahead 17.12 (114) to 8.7 (55).
Pines will go on to play Mt Eliza in the Qualifying Final at Alexandra Park on Sunday afternoon.
Mt Eliza will not enter finals with the momentum boosting win they may have been hoping for, after they played out a gruelling draw against Frankston YCW.
The Stonecats looked the better side in the first half, and led by 16 points at the half time break. Mt Eliza went on to chip back the lead, but still trailed by a couple of goals heading into the final term.
The Redlegs held their opponents to just one goal in the last quarter, and were able to fight back to bring scores level. They fought back admirably, but ultimately were made to share the points with the Stonecats as the siren sounded with both sides on level terms. The final score read 7.8 (50) to 7.8 (50).
Both sides worked hard and will be feeling bruised heading into their finals clashes this weekend.
Around the grounds, Frankston Bombers took on Rosebud in a dead rubber clash at Greg Beck Oval.
With Rosebud sitting near the bottom of the ladder and Frankston Bombers eliminated from finals contention, both sides had little more than pride to play for.
Rosebud went into the first break with a one goal lead, but were quickly outmuscled by their Frankston opponents.
The Bombers put on a particularly impressive display in the final term, as they held Rosebud to just one behind for the quarter. It was an emphatic victory for the Bombers, as they claimed the win 13.14 (92) to 8.6 (54).
The final game for the round saw Mornington host bottom of the ladder Seaford at Alexandra Park.
Although it had been a frustrating year for the Tigers, they got off to a strong start and went into the first break with a narrow four point lead.
The Bulldogs weren’t willing to back down without a fight though, as they fought back to bring the game back to level terms at the half time break.
Seaford battled to work their way back into the lead, and held a seven point advantage heading into the final term.
Although they entered the final quarter full of momentum, Mornington eventually overran the Tigers to claim a scrappy win to close out their year.
Jackson Calder booted three goals to help his Bulldogs side to a 12.14 (86) to 11.11 (77) win.
The victory caps off a year of improvement for Mornington, as they finished the year with five wins.