It was a battle of wills between Hepburn and Newlyn in the second elimination final at Dunnstown, with the Cats clawing their way to victory by two points.
It was Newlyn which dictated play early with a two-goal lead in the first term and a half time margin of 16 points. No matter which way the Burras tried to attack, the Cats’ defenders like Matt Cosgrave, Wes Carter and Josh Milne stemmed the tide.
Milne had an epic battle with a fired up Andy McKay.
It was a brutal, no-holds-barred encounter and before half time Hepburn’s Kenny Cummings was reported.
The third term started with a full-bore, one-man footy frenzy.
McKay shrugged off Newlyn defenders, bullocking his way clear to score three majors.
A fourth third-term goal came from a running shot in a pocket by Brad McKay.
At the last change, Hepburn had a one-point lead and looked dangerous.
But it was the Cats which broke the Burras’ spirit in the last quarter and it was a bruising battle. Within a few minutes, Newlyn had taken back the lead and maintained control of the game.
There was a slim chance of a Hepburn fairy tale win when Dan Rees had a long range shot at goals after the final siren. It just fell short.
“It was an epic game. We started off well. The last quarter just turned into a big slog,” Newlyn co-coach Chris Dwyer said.
For Hepburn coach Siga Asa Leausa, it was a painful defeat.
“Just a couple of scores...? It was very close,” he said.
Newlyn Cats will play Gordon next Sunday in Creswick. It will be the first time the Central Highlands Football League has held a final at Creswick’s Doug Lindsay Reserve.