EIGHT days after copping a 103-point hammering from Newbridge, Marong turned the tables on the Maroons in Sunday’s Loddon Valley Football League elimination final.
In the second of the senior finals at the weekend decided by a kick, the Panthers clung on to defeat the Maroons by five points at Serpentine.
In what was the second elimination final in as many years between the sides, the Panthers won 11.14 (80) to 10.15 (75).
While the Panthers now have a first semi-final to look forward to against Pyramid Hill next week - again, for the second year in a row - the Maroons will look back on their season-ending defeat as the one that got away.
After Marong had led by 15 points during the final quarter, the Maroons had the last five scoring shots of the game.
However, they kicked just 1.4 from their opportunities to fall short by five points.
Marong coach Corey Gregg was proud of the way his side responded to last week’s belting at the hands of the Maroons to keep their season alive.
“There was more on the line this week and the boys really came to play today, both mentally and physically and it was a good win,” Gregg said.
The biggest margin that separated the sides at any of the quarter breaks was the 10 points Newbridge led by at quarter-time, 3.2 to 1.4.
“The last quarter when the game was on the line was a really tough, hard scrap,” Gregg said.
“They had their chances late in the game, but the boys in the backline just kept putting themselves over the footy and riding the knocks.
“We were just about spent, but the boys kept digging in and got the reward.”
Midfielder Kyle Manley was superb for the Panthers to be their best player, and also hit the scoreboard with three goals.
Centre half-back Josh Cooper, the returning Craig Morris, Nathan Devanny and veteran Brett Rogers (two goals) also played leading roles in the win.
Key forward Rhys Ford kicked five of Newbridge’s 10 goals and was among the Maroons’ best, along with half-back pair Angus Fortune and Aidan Moore, onballers Brad Comer and Lachlan Ford and wingman Dylan Burt.
“It’s obviously a very disappointing result,” Newbridge coach Matt Dillon said.
“We’ve been our own worst enemy throughout the year with some of our kicking for goal and it came back to bite us late today.
“In a tight final, you’ve got to nail the chances when you get them.
“The boys did well to fight back from 15 points down in the last quarter to get back to a position where the game was up for grabs, but we fell short.”