READ MORE - SATURDAY SCOREBOARD - July 20, 2019
FOR the third time in its past five games Calivil United was involved in a thriller decided by less than a kick on Saturday as the Demons made Mitiamo pay for its inaccuracy.
In a result where the Loddon Valley league's second-bottom team upset the second-placed team, the Demons edged out the Superoos at home by four points, winning 11.9 (75) to 9.17 (71).
The Demons' past five games now include the four-point win over the Superoos, a four-point loss to Maiden Gully YCW the week before, plus a three-point victory over Marong.
Having one stage been 1-6, the Demons have now fought their way to 5-9.
As it currently stands the Demons are two games outside the top five, but if they were to receive four points for Maiden Gully YCW having breached its player points against them last week that would then close their gap to the five back to just one game with three rounds left to play.
The Demons' 10-point half-time lead had become a seven point deficit at three quarter-time after the Superoos kicked four goals to one in the third term.
But the Demons dug deep in the final term adding 4.1 to 2.2 to force the upset result in the 10th game of the season decided by a kick.
There were anxious Demons' moments in the dying seconds, with the ball in the Mitiamo goalsquare when the siren sounded.
"I guess if you're in enough of these close games you will win a few and lose a few," Calivil United coach Andrew Freemantle said.
"Against one of the top sides, to win today is great reward for the work the boys have been putting in.
"We've seen gradual improvement over the course of the year and after being competitive against the top three sides, to win today is fantastic."
Key defender Sam Demeo, who played on Mitiamo's Ryan Wellington, was Calivil United's best, while the midfield duo of Jake Hall and Jake Lawry also played well.
Calivil United forward Michael Cooke was the leading goalkicker on the ground with four.
The Superoos lost the game - and potentially the chance of finishing on top of the ladder - despite having 26 scoring shots to 20, with the bulk of their inaccurate 9.17 coming in the second quarter when they kicked 2.10.
In his first game back from a broken cheek co-coach Tyrone Downie (two goals) was named best for the Superoos in their second loss in a row, while consistent half-back Luke Lougoon continued his solid season and Justin Maddern finished with three goals.
MARONG v BRIDGEWATER
Three weeks after its season looked to be hanging by a thread, a top-three finish now isn't out of the question for Marong.
In another critical "eight point game" just like the previous week against Newbridge, the Panthers again stood up, beating Bridgewater by 21 points at home.
The Panthers prevailed 14.14 (98) to 11.11 (77) and now not only have a one-game break on the sixth-placed Bridgewater, but are also within one game of the top three.
Having been 4-7 three weeks ago, the Panthers are now back square at 7-7, with their three wins in a row also including the scalp of ladder-leader Pyramid Hill.
Not even five changes from last week - David Blume (concussion), Harry Graham (ankle), co-coach Taylor Beard (broken hand), Fraser Millar (knee) and Sam Sperling (foot) all out - could halt the Panthers' momentum.
READ MORE - Marong v Bridgewater, round 15 | PHOTOS
Plus the Panthers also lost Ben Millar to a nasty broken leg/dislocated ankle during the second quarter.
"I'm rapt with how the boys went today and to the credit of the five who came in, they all played their role and showed our depth is building," Beard said.
"All along we've had the self belief that we could potentially be a finals side and over the past month we've proven that, which is really pleasing."
Midfielder Zach Turnbull had a big impact for the Panthers that also included slotting four goals, Justin Hynes controlled the ruck and Nathan Devanny (three goals) continued his impressive return from injury.
Veteran Darren Clutton kicked four of the 11 goals for the Mean Machine, who were best served by Tyler Estrada (two goals) and Kyle Chant in a result that will make it hard now to reach the finals given they still have a bye to come in the last round.
PYRAMID HILL v BL-SERPENTINE
Pyramid Hill raced to a 50-point lead at quarter-time on the way to a comfortable win over Bears Lagoon-Serpentine.
The Bulldogs moved a step closer to securing a top-of-the-ladder finish with their 23.12 (150) to 14.5 (89) victory in what was a clash of 1st v 3rd at Pyramid Hill.
Pyramid Hill had the aid of the breeze in the opening term and by quarter-time led 54-4 after their early blitz.
"It was a decent wind and we were fortunate enough to kick with it in the first quarter and capitalise on our forward entries," Bulldogs coach Adrian McErvale said.
"We gave ourselves a handy lead at quarter-time, but it was in the second quarter where we were only outscored by a goal that was equally as important."
The Bulldogs kicked 15 goals in their two quarters with the breeze and eight against it; the Bears kicked 11 with it, but just three against it.
Bulldogs' forward Braidy Dickens continued his hot form, kicking eight goals and now has 23 in his past three games since the bye, while nine other Pyramid Hill players hit the scoreboard.
James Sala led the best players for the Bulldogs, who for the eighth time this season kicked more than 100 points. Last year they did it just once.
"James is a ball magnet who does all the right things, not just offensively, but he should be really proud of his defensive work as well," McErvale said.
Bulldogs forward Lachlan O'Toole suffered a rolled ankle in the first quarter, while Ben Dalton was concussed in the third term.
The loss was the second in a row for the Bears, which has now opened the door back to the top three for the chasing Maiden Gully YCW and Marong.
After being on the end of the early onslaught from the Bulldogs the Bears were narrowly outscored 15 goals to 14 after quarter-time, but the damage was done.
"We didn't play accountable footy in that first quarter... we gave them too much room to move," Bears coach Greg Gadsden said.
"We matched them well for the rest of the game, but you can't give a good side an eight-goal headstart and expect to win."
Cody Gunn (six) and Brodie Leonard-Shannon (five), who was switched from defence to full-forward after hurting a hamstring, combined for 11 of the Bears' 14 goals.
NEWBRIDGE v MAIDEN GULLY YCW
The finals aspirations of reigning premier Newbridge now look done and dusted after its 43-point loss at home to Maiden Gully YCW.
The Eagles' 14.13 (97) to 7.12 (54) victory not only keeps them in the top three hunt - albeit with their player points breach from the previous week still to be resolved - but now has the Maroons two games outside the top five.
The Eagles were 12 points up at half-time before adding eight goals to three after the break to win their fourth game in a row.
"We knew Newbridge had a few out, so we were confident in the second half we'd be able to open the game up and take advantage, which we did," said Eagles coach Wayne Mitrovic, who kicked four goals.
Rover Dylan Morris was again in-and-under all game to be the best for the Eagles.
"He's shouldering a heavy load in the midfield for us with who we've got out; he's doing a great job and winning a lot of contested ball," Mitrovic said.
As well as Mitrovic's four goals, the Eagles also had Luke Gray slot three.
The Maroons' better players were headed by Tim Zabilowicz, while Ashley Mayo and Jordan Gilboy slotted two goals apiece.
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