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Zebras into the Grand Final

A 10-goal final quarter has launched Sandringham into next Sunday's VFL grand final

Bendigo provided a brief scare with an astounding opening flurry, booting the first five goals with captain Nick Carter providing the highlight with a snap from the boundary.

The Bombers held a 27-point advantage at the first change despite not winning a centre break.

Sandringham ruckmen Mark Jamar and Paul Johnson were dominating the hitouts but the Bendigo defence was providing stoic resistance. Ted Richards was outstanding at centre half-back and Adrian Wilson, Jordan Doering and Paul Thomas were also repelling the Zebras.

Sandringham fought back in the second term when it was supported by the strong breeze, with Luke Williams, Steven Armstrong, Simon Godfrey and Peter Summers kicking opportunistic goals to give Sandringham a five-point half-time lead.

With the wind blowing hard, Bendigo needed to create a break during the third quarter, but Summers kicked a goal in the opening minute and Johnson belied his monolithic build with an agile snap. the Zebras were surging.

But for the second time in the match, Bendigo scored heavily in a spurt. Mark Alvey kicking a miraculous snap from the pocket and following it with a more orthodox goal from 45 metres out on the run after the next centre bounce.

Thomas and Mark Vigus added two more for the Bombers and they had regained the lead. But it would prove to be too small an advantage.

In the final term, the Zebras switched into high gear as a host of players began to have an influence on the match. Full-forward Nick Sautner, well held by Bendigo's Sam Hunt for three quarters, booted three goals in the last term. Ezra Poyas and Shannon Motlop had struggled to get involved in the game, but wreaked havoc in the remaining 30 minutes and Matthew Bate managed to contribute up forward as well. The Zebras were well served by midfielder Sean O'Keeffe and Matthew Gadsden had one his best matches for the year, blanketing Essendon's Angus Monfries.

Final score:
Sandringham 1.1 5.10 7.16 17.19 (121)
Bendigo Bombers 5.4 5.5 9.9 12.10 (82)

The Zebras will look to register consecutive premierships for the first time in club history next week when they take on Werribee at Optus Oval.

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