WRITE off Barnawartha at your own peril.
That was the message to emerge from the Tigers’ impressive 51-point victory over Chiltern in the elimination final at Sandy Creek yesterday.
After coming from the sudden-death final to win last year’s premiership, the reigning champion showed it could mount another charge by systematically taking apart the Swans.
Coach Mark Sarau said the win was a huge relief with several of his key players ill last week.
“I was worried going into the game as Josh Spence, Peter Cook and Ryan Lempa had all been crook and Chiltern had been playing some good football,” he said.
“The boys responded really well though.
“Sometimes the first final can be the hardest, especially as we didn’t know a lot about Chiltern and kids like the Boxalls and Van Klaveren, who have had good seasons.
“We know a lot more about Kiewa, Mitta and Thurgoona, which can only help.”
Chiltern played its best football when it closed the deficit to five goals early in the final quarter, but when Steven Phibbs and Cameron Cassidy were sent off the Tigers regained their composure.
Barton medallist Cameron McNeill led from the front while Paul Harrington, Steve Ramage and Troy Price also played major roles.
Nathan McKendrick played on Chiltern star Mark Doolan and was also named in Barnawartha’s best players.
Chiltern coach Kirk Wilson conceded his team had been outplayed.
“Full credit to Barnawartha, they were good across the ground,” he said.
“Their pressure was up and we went away from our structures.
“They showed us where we have to get to.”
Swan Tristan Radley was Chiltern’s best, while Dane O’Neill also overcame illness to perform well.