After an epic battle at Tony Clarke Reserve on Saturday, a gritty Romsey held on against a Macedon side kicking with the wind to virtually wrap up a finals berth.
“Unbelievable … everyone played their part,” proud Redbacks’ coach Paul Kennedy proclaimed.
“You showed a hell of a lot of character,” Kennedy told his players, reminding them of the need to attend training regularly and build on the opportunity to go deep into the finals.
Still depleted through injuries, the Redbacks’ side included some Under 19s players. Aaron Paterson was playing his 100th game.
Macedon was also below full strength and coach Al Meldrum must be wondering how the Cats failed to get over the line after their four-goal victory against Woodend-Hesket seven days earlier.
It was a strange match, with the fourth and fifth sides battling to show their credentials and wrap up a finals spot.
A speedy Romsey shocked the Cats by ramming home six goals to one in the first quarter, taking full advantage of the strong, blustery wind. Wingers Dean Walsh and Callum Sankey were prominent.
Macedon could not replicate the first-term scoring and the Redbacks defended strongly, going into the long break with a 25-point advantage.
“Show us something,” Meldrum appealed to his players at the break, and they responded with a great third quarter, as Romsey failed to kick a goal and the elusive Jason Cooke showed his individual skills to kick two for the Cats.
“I want to see something here and now,” were Kennedy’s final word to his players entering the last term.
The Cats failed to score an early goal, and Romsey’s spirits lifted as the clock ticked down as desperation play continued.
A 50-metre penalty resulted in a goal for the Cats, and suddenly it was a point the difference, with a draw or a Macedon victory favoured by many.
It was not to be, as up stepped Romsey’s captain Nathan Blair, prominent all match.
He marked on an acute angle and drilled a superb goal against the odds.
A deserving, courageous victory to the Redbacks, who are at home to Diggers Rest this Saturday, while Macedon go to Riddell looking to make amends.
Romsey 6.4, 7.5, 7.8, 8.9 (57) d Macedon 1.1, 3.4, 5.5, 7.8 (50).
Goals (R) – N. Blair 2,W. Di Petro, L. Newnham, C. Pertzel, D. Walsh, M. Caddy, A. Paterson.
Best – Blair, Pertzel, Caddy, Walsh, C. Sankey, K. Brennan.
Goals (M) – J. Cooke 5, D. Morrice, M. Knox.
Best – J. Wright, J. Wills, Z. Baggs, Cooke, L.Webb, J. Stoeckel.
Ladder-leader Diggers Rest slammed on 7.4 to nil with the wind in the first term to take a stranglehold on their match against Woodend-Hesket.
It was 14.10 to 5.3 at the final break, and the Woodsmen dominated the last quarter, to no avail.
Diggers Rest 14.11 (95) d Woodend-Hesket 10.8 (68).
Goals (WH) – J. Pound 4, J. Arceri 3, C. Johns 2, T. Pound.
Best – M. Stapleton, Arceri, M. White, C. Templeton, N. Xavier De Leur, J. Riz.
Lancefield kicked five last quarter goals to overhaul a Western Rams side which showed plenty of spirit.
The Tigers now have the task of playing at Wallan on Saturday.
Lancefield 8.7 (55) d Western Rams 4.4 (28).
Goals (L) – A. Simpson, B. Bryant, T. Atwell 2, M. Conlan, H. Taylor.
Best – Taylor, J. Slattery, L. Fellows, Bryant, M. Higgins, Conlan.
In the remaining match, Riddell made sure of holding on to second spot with a 9.4 (58) to 3.1 (19) victory over Melton Centrals.
Goals (R) – L. Berry, J. Horton 2, T. Stead, A. Duhau, J. Grabham, M. Bridgland, M. Edwards.
Best – J. Hammerling, J. Horton, Grabham, O. Besanko, T. Alkemade, B. Williamson.
Reserves: Diggers Rest 5.8 d Woodend-Hesket 5.6, Lancefield 5.7 d Western Rams 3.3, Melton Centrals 1.5 d Riddell 1.3, Macedon 10.4 d Romsey 7.5.