THE Smithton Saints secured the last Greater Northern Hockey League finals berth by defeating South Burnie at Circular Head, snuffing out any chance that the South Launceston Suns had of securing the spot.
The Saints have made the charge from last position to the four in the second half of the season with strong games, thanks to the efforts of Gene and Jarrod Poke in the midfield.
Anthony Lockett has kept most defences under pressure with his take-no- prisoners attitude of attacking the goals.
Jason Lynch, Joe Coombs and Nigel Kingston are a solid defensive unit and have been the catalyst for their rise to the four.
The South Burnie Hawks lost many of last year's teams to the Hobart competition, leaving coach Roger Ambrose little choice but to blood juniors from within the ranks. If they all remain together they should become a competitive unit.
Ladder leaders and reigning premiers Queechy Penguins mothballed Devonport at St Leonards aiding the Saints' march into the four. Matt Selby starred for the Qs, notching a hat- trick in the first half to give them a solid foundation for the game.
The Qs young guns, Stuart Allen, Sam Beckett and the returning from injury Jack Quigley, more than covering for injured Brett Withington.
The Qs defence, while not under pressure, was often bolstered by the Ryan Horne, the team's only other goal scorer.
The Subbies came with all to play for and added their on-ground general Greg Kean to the fray, but were unable to trouble the scoreboard despite the best efforts of Tony Hays and Mick Williams.
City Marians and Launceston City, currently second and third, retained status quo at the end of their game, with the Bloods taking the win.
While the end result would make no difference to the finals the bragging rights were worth the effort with both teams scoring in the first half.
It was the usual suspects for the Bloods - Craig McCarthy, Adam Lamprey and David Kenworthy all adding to their season's tallies.
Tom Ryan scored the consolation goal for Launceston City.
Launceston City struggled to field a competitive unit early in the season, with many of its old heads coming back for another go after desperate calls. David Fish and Dominic Gill put in solid efforts yesterday.
Jamie Pinner had plenty to do in the last line of defence and accounted for himself well.
The South Launceston Suns were keen to impress in their final game for the season, applying plenty of pressure to Tamar defence of keeper Bill Shepherd and fullback Rohan John.
The Suns Brad Stephens and Brad Buchanan found a way through, taking them to the break with the lead.
Tamar called on club stalwart Scott Arrowsmith to guide the Greenmen through their last game of the year.
Arrowsmith and Tait Spencer levelled the score at games end.
Queechy Penguins and the South Launceston Suns will be playing their postponed game at 5.30pm today.
RESULTS - City Marians d Launceston City 3-1, Queechy Penguins d Devonport 4-0, Smithton d South Burnie 3-0, South Launceston dw Tamar Churinga 2-2.