HORSHAM Saints kept their premiership defence alive with a resounding 26-point elimination final win against Ararat.
The Rats won both encounters between the teams during the home and away season, but the Saints dominated from the outset on Sunday.
A 21-9 first quarter set up the win.
Saints goalies Maggie Caris and Lavinia Fox converted with deadly accuracy, making the most of every opportunity.
But the Rats soon bounced back on the scoreboard in the second quarter, scoring 15 goals to the Saints’ 16 to keep themselves in the match.
The third quarter again went the way of the Saints as they increased their lead to 27.
The Rats won the final quarter, but by then the deficit was too great to make up.
Saints coach Shannon Reinheimer said her players went out hard from the first whistle.
“We knew we had to adjust to the umpires straight away and work the ball until we got a clear opportunity,” she said.
“Our girls shot amazingly. I was very happy with their stats and the way everyone brought the ball down the court.”
Reinheimer said the connection between her team was most pleasing aspect of the game.
“We don’t get to train together very often, so the way we gelled today really stood out to me,” she said.
The Saints will now meet Minyip-Murtoa in a grand final rematch at Dimboola, after the Burras lost the qualifying final to Horsham on Saturday.
Reinheimer said she expected a big challenge.
“I think it will be a bit of a tougher one than today, but hopefully we can give them a fight and get the win,” she said.
Ararat coach Donna Spalding said her team was pleased to be back in a final after not playing finals the past two seasons.
“I was really pleased with the girls – they held their heads high and fought through to the end,” she said.
“The Saints were a better team on the day. Their two goalies were sensational.
“But I couldn't really fault our goalies either.
“We’d beaten Saints twice this year, but we’d never seen the team they had today.
“We couldn’t match them with height.
“And you can't let a team get so many goals ahead and think you can come back.”
Spalding praised the work-rate of midcourter and captain Jess Williamson, and her goalies.
“Tahnee Walker was my best player, and I thought she was well-supported by Tayla Borrelli,” she said.