As far as finals results go, they don’t come much more convincing than this.
Stanhope booked its spot in the Kyabram District Football League first semi-final with a 78-point belting of Lancaster in Saturday’s elimination final.
The Lions led from start to finish, keeping the Wombats scoreless in the opening quarter and restricting them to only three goals for the match out at Undera.
Stanhope’s form leading into September had been serviceable, without setting the world on fire, but this performance will make the top two in Violet Town and Nagambie stand up and take notice.
Jack Young was sensational for the Lions, while James Gray fired up forward with six more goals to go with his half a dozen against Tallygaroopna in the final round of the home-and-away season.
Stuart Trevena carried on with his hot form, while Tom Hepburn, Jack Exell, James Fraser and Alec Young were all outstanding.
Hepburn took 15 marks, while Exell continued his transformation to defence after booting 61 goals in his first 14 games of the season.
‘‘We were very happy with the effort because we had all 21 players contributing. It was a really good team performance,’’ Stanhope coach Brenton Gray said.
‘‘The boys were prepared for the contest and everyone came out up and about, especially our midfield who were sensational.’’
It was a disappointing way for Lancaster to finish its season and for playing coach Nick Bertoli to bow out.
After three years as coach, including one as a co-coach, Bertoli is stepping away from the role to take a break from football next year.
‘‘I’ll just watch and observe next year, but I’m excited to see the club and the boys take the next step and hopefully they all stay together and go onto bigger and better things,’’ Bertoli said.
Bertoli said his side was not switched on from the start and Stanhope made his Wombats pay.
‘‘We lacked intensity and there weren’t enough guys working hard,’’ Bertoli said.
‘‘We had the ball a bit, but we just butchered it and it was one of those games where we couldn’t kick anywhere near enough.’’
Andrew Pettigrove was easily Lancaster’s best, while Michael Hill worked tirelessly after a superb end to the season.
Stanhope will take on (Avenel or Tallygaroopna) this Sunday at Girgarre.
The second semi-final will be at Stanhope on Saturday when Violet Town and Nagambie battle for a spot straight into the grand final.