And now for the finals!

Woodend-Hesket coach Tom Carland tries to inspire his side against the Bombers.
Woodend-Hesket coach Tom Carland tries to inspire his side against the Bombers.

The 16 home and away rounds are down and dusted, and the business end of the Riddell District League’s season is on in earnest this weekend with a qualifying final and two elimination finals.
The RDFNL has a final six system, where finishing second is equally as good as ending up on top of the ladder with Rupertswood and Riddell clashing in a blockbuster at Romsey on Saturday.
The Bombers systematically ended Woodend-Hesket’s finals hopes with an 11 goal win on Saturday and are on a 13 game winning streak.
Romsey replaced the Hawks in sixth spot with nine wins and seven defeats after predictably demolishing Broadford by a huge margin, and now face third-placed Diggers Rest in one elimination final. The Redbacks will not mind being underdogs.
Reigning premiers Macedon and Wallan meet in the other elimination final, with opinions divided on the likely outcome. The Cats won their July 14 meeting by two points.
Junior grand finals were played in abysmal wintry conditions which saw sun, rain, hail and even snow interspersed at Romsey on Sunday, and the league will be keeping an eye on the weather forecasts for this weekend.
Far too good
Determined to retain the double chance, Riddell proved far too accomplished for Woodend-Hesket on Saturday and the Bombers had the match wrapped up with a lead of almost seven goals at half time. Rain arrived for the third term and finally the sun appeared as the match drew to a conclusion.
“We had to be at our absolute best and they had to have an off-day,” Hawks’ chairman of selectors Dennis Barker said.
With a wind advantage, the Bombers kicked five goals in the first term with four coming from the boot of elusive skipper Haydn Ross who has topped the league’s goalkicking with 71 majors.
One of his goals out of mid-air would be envied by the Socceroos, and the desperate Hawks were caught out too often “over the back”.
To have a chance, the visitors had to score heavily in the second quarter, and this did not happen. Two goals came quickly mid-quarter but the Bombers had the answers with four goals into the wind, a rebounding defence and strong attacks on the ball.
Another five goals in the third term and the large contingent of Riddell supporters were on good terms with themselves with one or two changes likely to further strength the side in the finals.
Hawks coach Tom Carland implored his side to repeat their eight-goal last term against Riddell on July 7, but it was not to be.
Woodend-Hesket can reflect on a competitive season, highlighted by great wins against Diggers Rest and Romsey, but the shock loss at home to Sunbury Kangaroos was the one that cost them a finals berth. Positives were plenty of young players showed significant improvement, with Charlie Mathieson a stand-out.
Riddell would be pleased with the form of young ruckman Liam Read, and with big Jimmy Nolan back to provide back-up the Bombers medium and small brigade will be anticipating plenty of ball in the finals.
In their best performance of the season Riddell thrashed Rupertswood by 63 points on June 23, but this will count for nought if the Sharks bounce back and turn the tables at the weekend. This should be a fiercely contested final with so much at stake.
Last season Macedon won a long-awaited flag with their best possible side available on grand final day. This season injuries have had an impact but the Cats still have quality personnel.
The Cats have 2017 Bowen Medal winner Jason Cooke back and he kicked five goals against Lancefield on Saturday. Wallan just missed the finals last season, and is keen to make an impact this year.
Romsey will be keen to produce top form against Diggers Rest, remembering it was only a seven-goal first term that led to the visitors downing the Redbacks earlier in the season.
Finals venues
In senior RDFNL football, Rupertswood will play Riddell at Romsey Park on Saturday. On Sunday Diggers Rest will play Romsey at Clark Oval and Wallan will play Macedon at Romsey Park. All matches begin at 2pm.
In netball A Grade Macedon play Rupertswood at Romsey Park Saturday. On Sunday Wallan will play Rockbank at Clarke Oval and Romsey will play Riddell at Romsey Park. All matches begin at 1.15pm.