HAMILTON Kangaroos are celebrating the club's biggest Hampden league A grade victory after upsetting reigning premier North Warrnambool Eagles in Saturday's qualifying final.
Hamilton, which entered the finals series in third place on the ladder, had not beaten a side above it on the ladder before the 41-39 victory at the Friendly Societies' Park.
The Kangaroos, formed out of a merger between Hamilton and Hamilton Imperials clubs before the start of last year, failed to win a match in 2013.
After the tense victory over the Eagles, they are now one win away from a grand final berth.
The Eagles, hot favourites after only losing two games to Koroit during the home and away season, opened a three-goal buffer in an ominous opening to the first quarter. But the Kangaroos fought back and with the last two goals of the quarter found themselves a goal in front.
They then scored the first five goals of the second term as they raced to a six-goal advantage. The deficit was four at half-time, forcing the Eagles to shuffle their attacking end. Winga attack Sophie Barr went to goal attack, goal shooter Laura Blackburn went to wing attack and goal attack Annie Blackburn went to shooter. The Eagles closed the gap to two at three-quarter time setting up a big final quarter.
Just like they did in round 17 when they fought back from a nine-goal deficit to win by seven, the Eagles grabbed the lead late in the match. But the Kangaroos steadied and with a crucial intercept and goal and then another after the Eagles threw the ball out of court, they prevailed by two.
The Kangaroos now face unbeaten Koroit in the second semi-final next Saturday while the Eagles face the winner of Sunday's South Warrnambool versus Portland clash.