WARRNAMBOOL is officially finals-bound after its Hampden league rivals fell around it.
The Blues have recovered from a disastrous 0-5 start to sew up a top-five berth with two rounds remaining.
They sit in fifth spot, 10 points clear of sixth after defeating Hamilton Kangaroos on Saturday.
Terang Mortlake, Cobden and Hamilton Kangaroos all bowed out of contention after round 16 defeats.
Warrnambool secured its first premiership points of the season in round five.
It worked its way into the top-five for the first time in round 12 after an upset win over Port Fairy.
First-year Warrnambool coach Matt O’Brien said he was proud of his players’ effort but emphasised the job was not complete.
He said the Blues wanted to finish the home and away season strongly in readiness for finals.
“We want to play our game and prepare ourselves physically and mentally,” O’Brien said.
“No one is good enough to think you can muck around with form.”
Warrnambool produced a strong six-goal-to-one third quarter to break the game open against Hamilton Kangaroos. Scores were tied at half-time at Melville Oval.
“Our tackling numbers were down in the first half and we were giving away free kicks,” O’Brien said.
“We turned it around, stuck our tackles. We got the momentum and were able to put real pressure on them in our forward line and lock the ball in.”