Wangaratta is through to its third successive grand final after running away from Lavington on Saturday.
Kicking with the aid of a stiff breeze, the minor premiers cut the margin to nine points early in the final quarter, but Wangaratta regained the momentum and kicked four goals in eight minutes to post an 11.9 (75) to 5.11 (41) win at Birallee Park.
The 34-point margin wasn't a fair reflection, but given it's the Pies' 11th straight win, it highlighted their ability to absorb pressure and respond.
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"I thought our third quarter, in particular, was very disappointing," Pies' coach Luke Morgan said.
"The message at three-quarter time was very simple, we had to be harder, we had to contest more and the first part of the fourth quarter we really did that."
Wangaratta's Daniel Boyle (knee) failed a late fitness test, with premiership player Daniel Sharrock taking his place.
The Panthers kicked the first two points into the wind, but the Pies then landed four goals, including a superb checkside from Michael Newton near the boundary, while Morgan chipped in with two as the favourites led by 25 points at quarter-time.
At the 16-minute mark of the second term, Wangaratta ruckman Zac Leitch collected Lavington ace Shaun Mannagh high, who was knocked out and stretchered off. There wasn't a report.
The Pies' three goals for the quarter were critical to take a 17-point lead to half-time.
It was a gripping third stanza with both teams restricted to just two behinds apiece.
In the first minute of the last term, Nick Meredith nailed a tight shot from 30m and the Panthers had the momentum, but missed chances.
With 10 minutes left, Morgan's snap from 35m took a leg-break for the match-defining goal.
It was Morgan's best game, while defender Michael Bordignon was terrific.
Midfielder Matt Kelly's thumping kicks relieved pressure against the wind, while Jamie Anderson kept Aidan Johnson to a goal.
Marty Brennan opposed Kelly for periods and had a strong four-quarter effort, Meredith had a powerful second half, while Brant Dickson had a great battle with Newton (three goals).
"Wangaratta had the momentum for the first three-quarters ... we just didn't take our chances in the final quarter," coach Simon Curtis said.