Macleod booked its place in a fourth-consecutive Meadows Greyhounds Division 1 grand final with a hard fought 13-point victory over North Heidelberg in the second semi final.
The Roos held off a second-half fightback from the Bulldogs to win 14.11 (95) to 12.10 (82) at Preston City Oval.
Macleod coach Garry Ramsay was full of praise for his side post-match.
“It feels very good. I know how hard the group’s worked and I’m very proud of them and very excited,” he said.
“The game sort of went in momentum swings. We had the momentum in the first half and then they wrestled it back and we had to dig deep for the win.”
Patrick Martin and Reid Brandt both proved a handful for the North Heidelberg defence, booting three goals apiece.
Anthony Doherty, Hamish Paynter and Liam Brandt all chipped in with two. Brandt was also named best on ground, with Ramsay singling him out in the rooms post-match for his ability to continuously put his head over the ball.
Jake Brown was named best afield for the losing side, while Jesse Tardio put in another great finals performance.
Kyle Green and Shane Harvey both booted three majors, while Brent Harvey and Leigh Gilbert each kicked two.
Macleod came out of the blocks quickly and did the majority of the attacking early on. However, the Roos were only able to put two majors on the scoreboard through Doherty and Paynter, before Gilbert kicked the Bulldogs first at the 20-minute mark.
Both sides traded two goals apiece in a frantic final five minutes of the first term, with the Roos heading into the break five points ahead.
The Roos, led the Patrick Martin and Reid Brandt, dominated the second term. Martin booted three of his side’s four unanswered goals to open breathing space, while Brandt kicked two of his own.
Shane Harvey booted a late one for the Bulldogs as they went into half time 33 points adrift.
The game flipped on its head in the third term, with North Heidelberg doing all the attacking. Goals to Gilbert and both Shane and Brent Harvey gave the Bulldogs a new lease of life.
Kyle Green booted a goal from 45m on the boundary before Liam Hunt snapped another around his body to cut the deficit to just a solitary point.
Ramsay praised the Bulldogs for their efforts in the third term to change the flow of the match.
“The got some clear stoppages out of the middle and we didn’t lock down well,” he said, reflecting on his side’s worst quarter of the game.
“I reckon they got three or four clear stoppages in a row, which we’ll have to improve on going forward.”
Goals to Anthony Doherty and Joel Kidd in the final minutes sent the Roos into the final change 13 points ahead.
Green snapped the first of the final term as the Bulldogs looked to make another push, however goals to both Liam and Reid Brandt, as well as Daniel O’Brien, put the result beyond doubt for the Roos.
Shane Harvey and Green goaled late for the Bulldogs but it was to no avail as the final siren sounded, booking Macleod’s spot in the big dance.
The Roos could look to bring in a few faces who missed the semi final win.
“It’ll be interesting. I’m not 100% sure who will come back and if we lose anyone from today, but we’ll get to recovery and assess it all,” Ramsay said.
Final score: Macleod 14.11 (95) def North Heidelberg 12.10 (82)