FINLEY produced a punishing second-half performance crush defending premier Echuca United by 44 points and seal a top-two spot on the ladder.
The Cats led by just three points at the main break, but were in a different class after that.
“The boys decided we wanted the footy more than they did,” Cats coach Damian Sexton said.
“They probably controlled us in that area in the first half and wanted it a little more.
“But to the credit of our blokes we decided it was our turn to get the footy first.
“And when you do that you give yourself every chance to control the ball — that means you control the game.
“It was a great win for our blokes — there was a huge prize, we realised if we won that gave us a one or two finish and we believe that’s important.
“That’s one thing at the start of the year — we realised that if we do our best we can control our destiny and that’s come to fruition.”
Sexton said he was pleased there was another good spread of strong performers.
Jess Koopman was given a licence to run from the wing and obliged with six goals, while Matt Jackson was also impressive.
But with a raft of players lining up to get back into the team, Sexton is in an enviable position.
Robb Jewell, Ollie Ford, Cam Robertson, Marcus Jackson and Murray Bushranger Levi Middleton are all knocking on the door.
“There’s going to be a lot of tough competition in our side,” Sexton said.
“But you only need a few injuries to scrape that up a bit.
“But that’s the kind of team we are — there are no stars.”
Bryn Barnes-Webb kicked three goals to be the Eagles’ best, while Rowan Priest was kept to two goals.
Zayden Molluso was also among Echuca United’s better players.
It was a great win for our blokes — there was a huge prize, we realised if we won that gave us a one or two finish and we believe that’s important. DAMIAN SEXTON