EFL: Balwyn scrapes through in thriller

BALWYN set up a mouth-watering clash with Scoresby on Saturday after scoring a strong win over Noble Park in their EFL Division 1 elimination final on Sunday.

The Bulls had the Tigers' measure in their two previous meetings this year, but they couldn't keep up in the final term this time as Balwyn ran out winners 13.14 (92) to 8.7 (55) at Boronia's Tormore Reserve.

Balwyn started the better of the two teams, and generated plenty of run through the midfield, but it was Noble Park which made the most of a breeze to score two early goals.

Shane Tregear found some space inside 50 to score the Tigers' first goal, but Noble Park hit back from the ensuing centre bounce to restore the two-goal buffer.

Balwyn's Luke Barker's shot at goal after the siren failed to make the distance, leaving the Bulls with a 13-point lead at the first break.

It was a far more composed Balwyn outfit in the second term, and two quick goals eroded Noble Park's lead. If not for some inaccuracy, Balwyn could have stretched to a more significant lead but took a slender two point buffer into half-time.

The third term started much how the second finished, with Balwyn having the best chances despite kicking into the wind.

They missed the opportunity to extend their lead several times with a lack of composure near goal and Noble Park closed the gap. A missed kick by Balwyn meant they lead by just three points at the final break.

Balwyn couldn't have asked for a better start to the final term with Marc O'Regan goaling in the first minute and Maddison Hardiman adding another soon after to open up a 15-point lead.

A late flurry from Balwyn saw them through to the semis with a real chance of pushing further into September.

Balwyn will play Scoresby in this week's semi-final after Vermont won its qualifying final on Saturday.

FINALS DRAW

SATURDAY

2nd semi: Norwood v Vermont, (Bayswater Oval, 2.10pm)

SUNDAY

1st semi: Scoresby v Balwyn, (Tormore Reserve, Boronia, 2.10pm)

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