The Pambula Panthers will need a second chance to claim a grand final spot after going down to Narooma on Saturday.
The Lions will be out for their first premiership flag since 1986 after downing the Panthers by just nine points – 15-9-99 to 14-8-92,
Both sides came out looking to stamp their authority on the game early, as the opening exchanges were marked by some heavy contests.
This didn’t slow the Lions down though, as they started putting together a productive first quarter.
Two early goals had the Lions on top, before a beautiful goal off the outside of the boot from Narooma star Luke Talty got them an early break.
Simon Mackie then started imposing himself on the contest, kicking three goals late in the quarter to help Narooma build a 23-point lead.
Pambula got itself into the grind in the second quarter, as the contest turned into an arm-wrestle.
The Lions started showing some frustration at the improved performance from Pambula, with a number of skirmishes breaking up the action.
However, Narooma still had the better of the quarter, scoring four goals to two to take a 37-point lead into the main break.
The third quarter started with a bang, as three Pambula players were injured in the opening minute.
This wouldn’t stop the Panthers though, as they started to get on top in the contest.
The Lions struggled to clear the ball out of their defensive half for long periods in the third quarter, as the Panthers midfielders started getting first use of the ball.
Narooma managed to hold the Panthers at arm’s length though, and had a chance to make it very hard for the Panthers on three quarter time.
However, Jordan Lang missed a fairly simple shot after the siren, and the Lions had to settle for a 36-point lead at the final change. Pambula needed a fast start in the final term, and it got one through early goals to Justin Dickson and Jonathan Di-Donato.
This momentum would continue throughout the quarter, as another two goals brought the margin back to a slim 12 points.
Pambula looked set to steal the game as another goal brought the margin back to single digits for the first time since the opening exchanges.
Their desperation was to their detriment in the end, as two fifty-metre penalties gifted the Lions goals, and they would hold on for the win.
Earlier, the Panthers had handed the Lions a loss in a similarly close fought result, 6-11-47 to 7-2-44.
Alex Hammond and Jeffrey Adams had both kicked a pair of goals.
The Panthers will go into a second chance round during preliminary finals play against the Tathra Sea Eagles.
Preliminary finals are at Berrambool Oval with senior play to run from 11.50am.