For the first time in 21 years, Eltham is premier.

Saturday was redemption day as the Panthers erased last year’s grand final defeat with dominant 41-point win over Diamond Creek in the NFNL Division 2 decider at Preston City Oval.

It’s the club’s first senior flag since 2002, winning the double as the reserves saluted, and earns it a return to the top flight for the first time since 2017.

Miserly against Preston’s notorious wind and explosive with it, a six-goal fourth quarter put a cherry on the 12.13 (85) to 6.8 (44) triumph.

VFL-listed young gun Finnbar Maley was inspiration, marking almost everything in sight and finishing with six goals in a standout best-on-ground display.

In a feisty clash, that saw a number of spot-fires, Eltham was able to harness the emotion and dial up the pressure on the Creekers.

First-year coach Tim Bongetti said the team had come in with a gameplan and executed to perfection.

“Unbelievable, we had belief, the belief set the tone,” Bongetti said.

“We wanted the make them feel uncomfortable.

“They’ve had it, on merit, their way all year and making them uncomfortable, under pressure, would only benefit us.

“Our best quarters of footy have come against the wind, we played Thomastown a few weeks back and moved the ball better than we did going with the wind, so we just lowered the eyes, kept hitting up, keep finding the right options.”

Diamond Creek had the wind at its back in the first quarter but was unable to capitalise, taking until the 25th minute to finally kick the first goal of the game.

Footscray VFL-listed star Ewen Macpherson showed his class to snap truly and give his team a seven-point lead at quarter-time.

While held goalless, Eltham limited the damage and Maley finally got it on the board 10 minutes into the second term.

Billy Bedford was yellow carded in the aftermath after reacting to Bongetti’s niggle.