KANGAROO Flat kept its season alive with a thrilling two-point win over Eaglehawk at Canterbury Park on Saturday.
The 12.13 (85) to 12.11 (83) win was the Roos’ first win at Canterbury Park in 12 years and, more importantly, lifted the club into fifth place on the ladder.
“The boys are starting to understand how to win those close games which is great for their experience,’’ Kangaroo Flat coach Jason Stevens said.
“We were losing the close games earlier in the year, so to win today was a great result for the boys.
“Today wasn’t a final, but the pressure surrounding the game made it like a final, so to come out on top in that situation is a good sign for the club going forward.”
The Roos went into the match level on points with fifth-placed Eaglehawk, but their inferior percentage and tougher run home meant anything less than a win would make their finals dream almost impossible.
In the end, the Roos desperation and will to win were key factors in the win.
After an even first half, twice in the third quarter the Roos threatened to blow the game open when they stretched their lead to 16 points.
But on both occasions the Hawks reeled them back in.
The second fightback looked set to be more telling.
The Hawks kicked the final three goals of the third term and then the first goal of the last quarter to grab an eight-point lead.
The Hawks had all the momentum, but with their finals hopes dwindling the Roos dug deep.
For a five-minute period they locked the ball inside forward 50, but their only reward was a string of rushed behinds, which in the end helped secure the four points.
At the 13-minute mark of the final quarter the Roos’ hard work was rewarded when Bryce Fletcher’s clever snap bounced through for a goal.
Flat’s one-point lead didn’t last long. Two minutes later Hayden Collins swooped on a loose ball and kicked truly to give Eaglehawk a four-point lead.
The Roos rallied again and at the 20 minute mark Tim Brooks was paid a mark just inside forward 50.
His kick from 50m on a slight angle sailed through for a goal and the Roos were back in front.
At the 24-minute mark Eaglehawk looked set to regain the lead when Sean Williams found space, but his kick on the run from 30m in front sailed wide.
That was to be the Hawks’ final scoring opportunity – two minutes later the final siren sounded and the Roos celebrated their most important win in five years.
Midfielder James Saville was outstanding for the Roos, while defenders Liam Clohesy, Jarryd Wiegard and Jack Bowyer repelled Eaglehawk all day.
Simon Davies shut down Eaglehawk star Brodie Filo and Corey Greer was damaging through the middle.
Eaglehawk was left to lament poor skill errors, particularly in the first half, and its lack of a marking target inside 50.
Josh Ketterer did his best to get the Hawks over the line. His work around the stoppages was brilliant.
Glen Daly continued his superb season across half-back and Tyler Miles had the better of inter-league team-mate Cam Rinaldi.