Support player: Steve Butterworth helped set up a number of shots on goal for the Panthers against the Narooma Lions in the minor semi-final.

The Merimbula Diggers will need a second chance round to make the Sapphire Coast AFL grand final, but will have to overcome long-term rival Pambula to do it.

High flyers: Jack Burch goes up in the ruck against Sea Eagle Rick Spink during the major semi-final on Saturday where the Diggers went down narrowly.

The Diggers went down to the Sea Eagles in the major semi-final at Lawrence Park on Saturday, while the Panthers overcame the Narooma Lions.

The Panthers also advanced to the preliminary final of the women’s division with a comfortable win over the Bermagui Breakers.

However, the Pambula club came off second best to the Sea Eagles in the reserve grade fixture and will meet the Diggers in a second round after the Merimbula club trumped Narooma.

The Diggers were in for a physical challenge during the senior final against the Sea Eagles and play was fierce from the first bounce.

Merimbula ruckman Jack Burch was on top early and clearing out the ball where Noah Martin was leading the Diggers up the field with an immense work rate.

From the front lines, Luke Higgins and Dylan Jordan were on point for the Merimbula club, knocking through two majors apiece.

Unfortunately, Jordan dislocated his shoulder in the second half and the Diggers had to rotate through the bench to fill the void.

A yellow card against a Digger also left the club with just one player on the bench in the dying stages where the Sea Eagles got on top of play.

The Tathra-Bega hosts had led to the main break by about 40 points before the Diggers fought back valiantly in the third.

However, the Sea Eagles shot clear in the last quarter to win 14-9-93 to 7-15-57.

In the headline match for the Panthers, Sean Smith provided a scalpel in the operation of getting past the Narooma Lions.

The Panthers matched the blistering speed and fitness of the young Lions with Smith leading the charge on six goals.

Captain Mitch Cameron was also on the point with three majors to his name.

Steve Butterworth only notched up one for himself, but was crucial in the set up of several goals.

The Panthers held off an impressive late charge from the Lions to hold a 20-point lead and earn a place in Saturday’s preliminary final.

The full time score was 15-12-102 to 11-13-79.

It was a reversal of the scores in the development grade with the Panthers piling on 20 points in the last quarter, but going down to the Sea Eagles.

The Panthers had trailed by 30 points at three quarters, but drove home every opportunity in the last stanza, but lost 9-7-61 to 5-9-39.

Pambula will feature in all three preliminary finals in Narooma on Saturday and will meet Merimbula in the reserves and senior play.Games runat Bill Smythe Memorial Oval from noon.

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