ROSEBUD made it nine wins in succession against Somerville in the qualifying final on Saturday, withstanding a last quarter surge to win by seven points.
For three and a half quarters at Red Hill Recreation Reserve, Rosebud completely dominated the Eagles.
However, trailing by five goals at three quarter time, the Eagles changed things around in the last term, won the ball on the outside and outscored Rosebud 4.6 to 1.1 to almost steal the match.
The momentum swung in the game when Rosebud gave away two free kicks in the goal square, resulting in two goals before the ball was taken back into the centre square.
Those two goals to coach David Hirst reduced the margin to nine points, then Tim McGennis booted a long bomb to reduce the margin to just three points with seven minutes left to play.
Somerville continued to dominate general play but could only manage a further two behinds, reducing the margin to just a point.
Then, for the first time for the quarter, Rosebud won the ball at half back, kicked the ball into space, Nick Boswell gathered and bounced his way to half forward before the ball ended up with the best player on the ground, Ben Dwyer, who kicked the sealer with just a minute on the clock.
The stranglehold that Rosebud has on Somerville dates back to 2013.
In that year, the Buds and Eagles met in round four (Rosebud by 19 points) and round 13 (Rosebud by 10 points)
In 2014, they met in round eight, Rosebud winning by 65 points.
Both clubs missed the finals in 2013 and 2014.
In 2015, they met four times – in round six (Rosebud by 11 points), round 13 (Rosebud by 5 points), in the second semi (Rosebud by 16 points and the Grand Final, which Rosebud won by 20 points after trailing by eight points at three quarter time.
In 2016, we had to wait until Round 10 before we got the replay of the 2015 Grand Final.
Rosebud jumped out of the blocks on that day and kicked the first seven goals of the game, ending the contest at Olympic Park there and then.
After the first change, Rosebud just outscored Somerville 7.9 to 7.8.
Rosebud was all over Somerville in the first three quarters.
They were more committed to the contest, calmer under pressure, cleaner with their disposal and worked together as a team a whole lot better.
The 28 point half time lead and 30 point three quarter time lead was justification for the hard work.
Rhys Bancroft, Ryan Spooner, Dale Stephens and Brenton Payne worked tirelessly through the middle, along with Dywer, who again had the better of Justin Farrelly, Chris Zurek, Seb Krumeich, Matt Baker, Brenton Davidge, Chris Dew and Nick Boswell all led the backline and the likes of Keegan Downie and Daniel Wilson looked dangerous in attack.
The Buds were all over the Eagles and to make matters worse, none of the ‘stars’ for Somerville were having any impact.
Desperate changes needed to be made by Somerville and they were simply made too later.
Trailing Rosebud by 28 points at half time, the Eagles needed to produce Plan B. They waited until three quarter time to get dangerous and adventurous.
Scott Simpson was outstanding for the duration for the Eagles across half back but he should have been swung into the ruck or up forward much sooner than he was.
Luke Collie did a great job on Keegan Downie, restricting him to just one goal, while Adrian Speedy was the best run and carry player for the Eagles.
The facts are that the Somerville brand is not good enough to beat Rosebud. If they get the chance again, the Eagles need to change it up and be unpredictable.
They may not get that chance!
On Sunday in the elimination final, Hastings led from early in the second quarter to the finish to knock Red Hill out of the 2016 premiership race.
However, the 10.12 (72) to 7.9 (51) victory came at a price for the Blues with ruckman Josh Mulheron being aided from the field with what appeared to be an ankle or knee injury, while key forward Colin McVeigh was reported in the last quarter for striking and was offered a mandatory two week ban.
The Blues were disciplined and well-coached, preventing the HIllmen from playing on, protecting the corridor, pressing up at the half backs and getting numbers back behind the footy.
Red Hill dominated the inside 50 metre tally in the opening quarter but continued to kick it to the opposition.
Brendan Dunne, Terry Green, Paul Rogasch and Matt Clifford did well down back, Nathan Gray, Mark Deveraux, Pete Mawson and Luke Smith were influential through the middle and Shaun Foster, Luke Clark, McVeigh and Luke Hewitt were dangerous in attack.
The Hillmen played into the Blues’ hands and it cost them victory.
The margin was four goals at half time when McVeigh nailed an after-the-siren goal and the margin blew out to five goals at three quarter time.
The Hillmen outscored the Blues in the final quarter but never threatened. Sean Marchetti, Jake Mold, Blake McCormack and Ben Poole were the best of the Hillmen.
Hastings will now play Somerville in the first semi final on Sunday at Devon Meadows while Frankston will play Rosebud at Rye on Saturday.