DENNINGTON has taken a giant step towards playing finals football with a convincing win against Nirranda.
Second-year coach Darcy Lewis was upbeat about a likely elimination final after watching his men outclass the Blues 13.25 (103) to 8.6 (54) at Dennington Recreation Reserve.
The clash was a tricky hurdle Dennington had to clear and victory had put the side in the box seat to secure fifth spot.
The Dogs are a game ahead of sixth-placed Timboon Demons, and two games clear of South Rovers and the Blues.
"That's shaken Nirranda off us, Timboon is our next worry," Lewis said.
"They're going to have to have a couple of big wins, they've got Merrivale and Kolora coming up in the next four weeks.
"If th ose two teams beat Timboon I think we'll be safe provided we keep winning."
Lewis was relieved he could finally talk about finals after Dennington's up-and-down season hit a high point.
The Dogs were wasteful in front of goal Chris Keilar and Levi Geebung were the main offenders and could've easily won by 100 points. They led by three points at quarter-time but slammed on 12.20 to 7.4 thereafter.
Onballer Jordan Greene was best on ground and Alex Pye kicked four goals.
But Lewis had high praise for defenders Sam Lewis, Luke Moutray and first-gamer Brad Distel, and ruckman Nicholas Alexandrou. "Our form is definitely good enough to match it with the top sides at the minute," he said.
"If we kick as inaccurately as we did yesterday, it'll cost us games against the Allansfords and Koloras."
Nirranda coach Brad Wiggins said the match highlighted a key difference between the sides skill level.
Wiggins said the Blues had enough possession to challenge the Dogs but "when we turned it over they punished us".
Jeremy Ellis and Klint Wagstaff kicked three goals each and teenagers Morgan Van Der Mark and Cordie McKendry provided dash around the ground.
Wiggins said the Dogs could trouble likely elimination final opponent Merrivale. "They've got a handy mix of players. Yesterday they could've had 17 blokes in their best six players," he said.
"They've got a fair mix there to take it up to the best teams body size, good forwards, good onballers and good backmen.
"And they've got kids who can run and carry."