Saints signal their finals intent
Australian Rules: The South Burnett Saints have kept their hopes of a top-two finish alive, following a hard-fought 69-51 win over Coolaroo at Toowoomba's Kratzke Oval on Saturday.
The Saints made up for last weekend's shock loss to Goondiwindi in emphatic style, and proved the win over Coolaroo in round four was no fluke.
Trailing by seven points at the first break, the Saints hit the lead and never looked back on their way to the 18-point win.
The result drew South Burnett level on points with Coolaroo in second position. Just six percentage points separates the two sides, with four rounds remaining.
AFL Darling Downs regional manager Jeff Neumann said the Saints responded in perfect fashion after the disappointing result at Goondiwindi.
"To get that win away from home is important - to beat Coolaroo on their home turf is a big confidence booster heading into the business end of the season,” Neumann said.
"University look to have sown-up the minor premiership, but the battle for second between Coolaroo and South Burnett is tight.”
The Cougars continued their good form on Saturday with a 107-33 win over South Toowoomba, while Goondiwindi moved into fourth with a 246-15 demolition of an injury-hit Toowoomba Tigers.
Round 12 shapes as a pivotal one for finals contenders, with the Saints hosting University at Lyle Vidler Oval and South Toowoomba travelling to Goondiwindi with a chance to retake the last finals position.
"We're really happy with the restructured Allied Pickfords Cup, anyone on their week can win,” Neumann said.
"To have teams like South Burnett who have grown stronger over many years, it's great to see them being so successful.
"It will always be tough for clubs (like the Saints and Hawks), there will always be travel it comes with country footy.
"They're looking likely for a top two finish with a good run home. No doubt the crew at the Saints are looking forward to the business end of the season.”
Should the Saints manage to finish in second, they will likely take on University in a qualifying final. A win there would book their place in the grand final, while a loss would schedule a clash with the winner of third versus fourth.