Kyabram was simply too good for Seymour on Saturday, trouncing the Lions by 48 points in a one-sided semi-final.
But all is not lost for the Lions, who have a second chance at glory in this weekend’s preliminary final.
The Bombers were all class, and proved exactly why they have remained undefeated for precisely 41 games.
If you give Kyabram an inch, it’ll take a mile. While Seymour was good in patches, Kyabram was brilliant from start to finish on Saturday and the Lions were made to pay for their inconsistent play.
‘‘To be honest, I was really frustrated with the group. We had the opportunity to play in a grand final and we just didn’t come to play, so that was the most disappointing aspect to come out of it,’’ coach Brent Colbert said.
While Seymour was incredibly slow out of the blocks, Kyabram was the exact opposite.
It had registered two goals within three minutes, and kicked the only three goals of the opening term.
The Lions managed just three behinds in the opening stanza. They had their chances, but failed to capitalise.
On the other hand, Kyabram’s pressure was outstanding and the Lions were probably lucky they didn’t trail by more than 18 points at quarter time, with the Bombers missing a couple of easy shots on goal.
After a rev up by Colbert at the first break, the Lions began to match their opponents.
In fact, it would be fair to say Seymour had the majority of the play for the bulk of the second term — but again, the Lions failed to capitalise on the scoreboard.
Hugh Robertson took arguably the mark of the year in the Lions’ forward 50m, and then kicked it to Brandyn Grenfell who drilled it home to give the Lions their first major of the day.
Minutes later, Rory Scopel kicked a great goal on the run to bring the margin back to just seven points.
But just as Seymour got a sniff, Kyabram responded and kicked the next two goals of the game to blow the margin back out to 19 points.
The difference in the two sides was telling.
Seymour was working incredibly hard to get scores on the board, while Kyabram looked to be doing it easy when it went forward and led by 25 points at half-time.
‘‘Ky kicked the first three goals of the game, and you just can’t allow that,’’ Colbert said.
‘‘You have to put scoreboard pressure on Ky, that’s the key to defeating them and we just didn’t do that.
‘‘We had a really good 10-15 minute patch in the second quarter but we weren’t able to convert. Between the second and the third quarter we had more inside 50s than Ky, but we didn’t make the most of our opportunities, whereas they did.’’
The Lions’ back line was under constant pressure all game but were impressive under fire.
Dylan Scopel, who was clearly the Lions’ best player, was brilliant down back. He took at least five saving marks in the third quarter alone, but only one of those was converted to a goal for Seymour. He kicked it to Cole who kicked it to Grenfell who had somehow found himself alone just 30m out from goal, and he kicked truly.
Grenfell was having a huge influence on the game, whether that was in the ruck or when he was up forward, and finished with four majors for the match.
The Lions were able to bring the margin back to within three straight kicks at one stage in the third quarter, but as always, Kyabram had the answers and kicked away late in the term to lead by 27 points at three-quarter time.
Seymour went back to its old ways in the fourth term, and Kyabram pounced.
The Bombers had booted a goal within the first 20 seconds of the game, and had kicked three goals in the blink of an eye to lead by 46 points at the seven-minute mark.
From there on it was a foregone conclusion, and all the Lions could do was stem the Kyabram onslaught so the margin didn’t blow out any more.
That they did, and with two goals apiece from that moment on, Kyabram recorded the 48-point victory and booked a spot in the 2017 season decider.
One of the biggest positives for Seymour to take from the match was the return of Brett Meredith.
The midfield dynamo has missed almost three months of footy after lacerating his kidney in round seven, but he returned on Saturday and made it through the game well playing on the wing and up forward.
‘‘Our expectations aren’t high on him because of the amount of footy he’s missed,’’ Colbert said.
‘‘He was quiet early but he worked his way in to the game as it wore on and he’ll be better for the run this week.’’
The Lions now face Shepparton in a preliminary final this Sunday, at Deakin Reserve in Shepparton.