NORTH CENTRAL – Another thriller as Donald edges out Saints

FOR the fifth round in a row the North Central league has featured a thriller decided by less than a kick.

This time it was Donald edging out St Arnaud by two points in a clash of third v fourth as the Royal Blues returned to the winner’s list.

Donald – which had lost its previous three games – stormed home in the last term, overcoming a 22-point three quarter-time deficit to win 10.13 (73) to 10.11 (71) on Saturday.

The Royal Blues on their home turf booted 5.2 to 1.2 in the final term in a result that keeps them one game clear inside the top four after 11 rounds.

Coach Jacob Werts and Bryan Beckham kicked three goals each and were the two best players for Donald.

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The Saints were best served by Kane Sevallos-Seden and young gun Jack Tillig.

Saturday was the third time in the past four weeks the Saints have been involved in game decided by less than a kick.

As well as the two-point loss to Donald, the Saints’ past four matches have also included a five-point win over Boort and draw with Wedderburn.

• Wedderburn overcame a sluggish first half and 26-point deficit at the main break to run over the top of Boort.

In front of a home crowd that included a reunion of their 2008 premiership, the Magpies had the Redbacks under pressure at half-time when they led 6.5 to 2.3.

From 26 points down at the break, the Redbacks reduced the deficit to 14 at three quarter-time, before kicking 3.7 to 0.1 in the final term to record an 8.12 (60) to 7.8 (50) victory.

The Redbacks had good players in Jayden Jones and Jordan Hargreaves.

The Magpies kicked the opening four goals of the game and held the lead until the 18-minute mark of the final term when Joseph Lockhart put the Redbacks in front, before key forward Sam Barnes with his third goal sealed the win for Wedderburn.

It was another frustrating missed opportunity for bottom side Boort, which in its past three games has lost by 10, five and two points.

Jake Ellery and Keiren Wilson were best for Boort.

• Birchip-Watchem’s winning run continued, with the flag favourite Bulls improving to 11-0 after a 20-point victory over Sea Lake Nandaly.

The Bulls prevailed 11.10 (76) to 8.8 (56) at Sea Lake, with the victory led by strong performances from James Lindeback, Charlie Hallam (two goals) and Stephen Paulke (three goals).

With his three goals Paulke now has 51, joining Strathfieldsaye’s Lachlan Sharp (54) as the only players across the AFLCV region who have reached the 50-goal mark so far this year.

The best for the Tigers, who were within 10 points at three quarter-time, were star big man Ryan O’Sullivan (two goals) and Luke Martin.

In his second game for the Tigers, Lionel Ogden slotted three goals.

• Wycheproof-Narraport absorbed a first-half challenge from Charlton to kick away to a 31-point win.

The Demons’ advantage at half-time was 11 points, before their four goals to one in the second half propelled the reigning premiers to a 9.10 (64) to 5.3 (33) win.

Ricky Allan kicked three goals and Tim Holobowski and Anthony Bull were best for the Demons, who are now 5-0 against Charlton since they were beaten by the Navies in the 2016 grand final.

Veteran Anthony Judd and Josh McKee played well for Charlton.

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