Sunbury in box seat

Trent Stead goes for a hangar. Picture Shawn Smits

The Sunbury Lions’ chances of making the Ballarat Football League finals changed within a matter of hours on Saturday.

Needing wins in both their remaining matches and hoping that either Ballarat or Sebastopol upset Bacchus Marsh, the Lions thought their finals hopes were all but gone as they were four points behind the Cobras.

But by the end of the day, the Lions were back in the box seat to finish sixth and claim the last finals berth.

The Lions did their part by beating Sebastopol 13.15 (93) – 8.3 (51).

Ballarat then caused a boilover beating Bacchus Marsh, putting the Lions significantly ahead of the Cobras on percentage.

For Lions coach Rick Horwood, the change in fortunes was unexpected.

“We are rapt,” he said. “It gives us the opportunity to put our finals hopes in our own hands.

“It will keep our record of playing finals in the Ballarat Football League every year in tact.

“Who would have thought that would happen a couple of weeks ago?”

The Lions were made to fight for the win against the Burras, who continue to improve each week.

“We nearly kicked ourselves out of the game in the third quarter,” Horwood said. “We had 19 entries into our forward 50 and could only kick eight points.

“Our defence stood strong, though, and kept them to only 11 scoring shots for the game.”

As it has been often this season, it was the younger players who stood up.

“We had four under-18 players in the side,” Horwood said. “They have deserved to play games but if we took too many from the under-18s they wouldn’t have enough players to field a side.

“Jack Hannett, in his first game, was in the top three players on the field. Dean Muir was best on ground while William Healy, the other first gamer, was in our top 10.”

Horwood said the only negative out of the game was the report of Ben Said.

If offered a one-week suspension, Horwood said the club would take it to ensure Said was back for finals.

The Lions will go into their final game, against Melton, as favourites.

“We go to Melton full of confidence,” Horwood said. “We need to start well and take the game away from them.”

In the netball, the Lions will finish fourth on the ladder.

On Saturday they defeated the Burras 57-34 with Chloe Curran shooting 44 goals in the win.