THE transformation from easybeats to contenders continues for Old Collegians.
Yesterday the Warriors took another step in an amazing 2014 when they defeated Allansford by 26 points in the elimination final at Merrivale.
They now advance to a first semi-final showdown with Dennington this Sunday, an incredible feat given they are coming off a winless 2013.
And the Warriors will go into their clash against the Dogs with not only form on their side but also recent history.
The only time the two sides have met this season was in round eight with the Warriors winning by 48 points.
The Warriors came into the finals series on the back of losses in the last two rounds with many believing their fairytale finals journey would be brief.
But they showed they can handle anything a big final can throw at them as they met every challenge to advance to week two.
They started the game brightly with onballer Colby Rix kicking the first goal at the three-minute mark.
But Allansford was also looking sharp with both teams using the ball well despite a strong wind blowing across the ground towards the netball courts.
The Cats had the better of an entertaining opening quarter to lead by eight points with three of their four goals coming from full-forward Justin Nowell.
When Sam Burchell snapped a goal just minutes after the second quarter began it looked like how far the Cats.
But the Warriors hit back hard kicking the next four goals en route to a two-point lead at half-time.
Again it was Rix who got his side going in the second half with a clever early goal to kickstart an absorbing third quarter.
The next six goals were shared evenly by the two teams and at the 20-minute mark the game was still on a knife’s edge.
But the final 10 minutes of the quarter was to be the period the game was opened up and taken from the reach of the Cats.
The Warriors kicked four unanswered goals in this time to race out to a 23-point lead at the final change.
They extended this when Josh Stapleton kicked the first goal of the last before the Cats made one last dash at glory.
Allansford kicked two goals in two minutes to get the margin within three goals but again these Warriors showed they were up for whatever was on the agenda.
Old Collegians kicked three of the last five goals to add another chapter in what continues to be the feel good story of the season.
There were plenty of excited Old Collegians fans on hand and they had no shortage of heroes to bestow their adulation upon after the game.
Rix was a star in the middle and up forward with four goals, Zac Pickett was brilliant in the ruck and around the ground and Eli Barker was as classy and clever as always.
Warriors coach Daryl Beechey led the way in what was an organised and efficient defence while Daniel Weel provided plenty of dash on the wide expenses that are the Merrivale wings.
It was a bitter pill for the Cats who gave a solid account of themselves only to fall short.
Forward Dave Pullen was the star of the day for Allansford, kicking five goals and breathing life into his team while defender Matthew Dwyer did all in his power to try and stop the dam from breaking.