MELTON Thoroughbreds will play Craigieburn Eagles for a spot in the Big V men's division 2 grand final after sealing a top four berth at the weekend.
Desperate to turn around a form slump that had threatened to cost it a finals berth, Melton beat Coburg 78-66 on Saturday night to ensure finals action.
A weakened side battled to defeat on Sunday afternoon against Keysborough to finish the home and away season.
Melton finished third on the ladder with a 13-7 record, ahead of Horsham and fifth-placed Keilor (both 13-7) on a three-way head to head.
Keysborough (14-6) and Craigieburn (14-6) finished top two, setting up best-of-three semi-finals, pitting Melton against Craigieburn and Keysborough against Horsham.
Melton will host game one at Melton Indoor Recreation Centre, while game two, and game three if required, will be a week later at Craigieburn.
Squad management was key for the Thoroughbreds at the weekend as Jeff Crowe played 24 minutes for 17 points coming back from injury against Coburg.
Paul Ross (10 points) and Jordan Kirk (11) were also in double figures as Melton shook off a determined Coburg in the closing stages.
"They closed to within three points in the third quarter and Jeff Crowe played a big part in getting the win," Melton coach Aaron Christian said.
"Sunday against Keysborough we rested Jeff and Marty Pietrykowski, but we wanted to put on a good show and not give Keysborough a psychological edge going into finals."
Melton lost 84-78 to give Keysborough top spot on the table.
"We were up by [double figures] and then they had a third-quarter run. We were a little unlucky to lose in the end," Christian said.
"It's going to be wait and see [on the injuries] during the week. Hopefully Jeff can be nursed through to get up and play limited minutes, while Marty and Matt [Strutynski] are session-by-session."
Craigieburn beat Melton 81-52 in Melton in round two in March, but the Thoroughbreds won the return game 70-68 in overtime at Craigieburn in late April.
"We're very similar teams and match up on each other really well as shown by that second game when we got up in overtime," Christian said.
"It's going to be a game of intensity and, I hate to say it, about who wants it more."
Craigieburn point guard Eric Miraflores averages 18.1 points per game and is the main danger to Melton.
"He is really quick, Patty Mills-esque actually," Christian said. "Our guards are going to have to work really hard watching him.
"We've had the pressure on in the last few weeks and last weekend was a big one. We've beaten every side in the competition and we know we can beat every side, so we go in confident."
Tip-off is at Melton Indoor Recreation Centre on Saturday at 7pm.