The Nagambie of old returned on Saturday.
A week after suffering their worst loss in almost six years, the Lakers hit back with a 16-point win against Tallygaroopna in a blockbuster clash at Nagambie.
A top two spot and a week off heading into the finals was on the line and Linc Sullivan’s team finished up on top.
The Lakers booked a second semi-final date with Violet Town with the result, consigning the Redlegs to fighting it out for third on the ladder.
Tallygaroopna had its chances, finishing with more scoring shots and its lead of 11 points at quarter-time would have been greater had it kicked straighter.
The Lakers were spurred on by the return of star midfielders Anthony Haysom, Michael Roberts and ruckman Steve Barber.
Along with Mick Shiels, the trio were all missing against the Towners, contributing to a smashing around the clearances.
‘‘You inject those three into any midfield in the competition and naturally it helps to balance the contested footy and around the stoppages,’’ Sullivan said.
‘‘They (Violet Town) got hold of us around the stoppages and we couldn’t stop them taking it out of the middle.
‘‘But we were on top for the better part of the second and third quarters against Tally, but to their credit they fought hard and pushed us until the end.’’
Veteran forward Pat Rattray turned back the clock with six goals to go to 20 for the season after getting a recall to the senior side in round 14.
‘‘He kicked 6.6, so he could’ve had a few more, but we adjusted a few things around to cater for the big fella,’’ Sullivan said.
‘‘He’s got himself fitter and he’s at a club that has been strong for a long time and he understands that his footy will come to an end at some point, so he’s just enjoying the ride while he can.’’
Danny Haysom was terrific through the middle and up forward with three goals, while Anthony Haysom was back to some of his best touch.
Kyle Winter-Irving popped up with three goals, while Mark Nolan and Ben Robinson had good outings.
Tallygaroopna coach Chris Earles said it was disappointing to lose the top two spot, but was proud how his side played in tough circumstances.
The deaths of Haimish Mawson and John O’Dwyer affected a number of Redlegs players.
‘‘We’ll take a bit out of it, even though our top two chances are gone and we’ll concentrate on keeping the spirit,’’ Earles said.
‘‘We know we can beat them, we’ve had more scoring shots than them (the Lakers) in both games this season and we have that belief there.’’
Tallygaroopna entered the match without playmakers Jayden Goodwin and Austin Tricarico.
While Tricarico could be back for this week’s match with Avenel, Tricarico had news confirmed on Thursday that he will require a knee reconstruction.
Tyson Sidebottom starred for the Redlegs again, but sat off most of the last quarter with the game all but over.
Doug Wren was at the forefront of Tallygaroopna’s charge, while Zac Brett did an excellent job playing on Ben Hutton.
Marrick Tucker and Sean Gledhill were also among the Redlegs’ best.