MDFL - Mininera and District Football League reigning premier Wickliffe/Lake Bolac has remained in touch with the top five following its 40-point win over SM&W Rovers on Saturday.
The match was critical for both teams' aspirations to play finals football, and the 14.11 (95) to 8.7 (55) victory means the Magpies have moved into seventh position on the ladder.
The game was in the balance early as the ball moved between the 50-metre arcs, with SM&W Rovers holding a two point buffer at quarter time.
"It was a pretty tight first quarter, both teams were trying to work their way into the match," Wickliffe/Lake Bolac coach Nic Willox said.
"We were on the right track, I just wanted to see a bit more intent and attack from the boys.
"We fed the ball out to our runners well in the second quarter I thought, and that run allowed us to score a bit more freely."
The Magpies held the Bulldogs goalless in the second term while adding four majors of their own, with onballer Jason Quinlivian in good touch and Jake Clark finding plenty of the ball.
The visitors came out strongly after halftime and closed the deficit, but Wickliffe/Lake Bolac again responded and increased the margin in the final quarter.
"We gave away a few 50-metre penalties late in the third and they got a couple of quick goals out of it, which gave them some momentum," Willox said.
"Then I think we kicked three goals in the first five minutes of the last, so I was pretty happy with how we responded.
"It was a pretty scrappy game, our fitness is lacking and our skills are still a bit off, so there is still a fair way to go. We've just got to keep working on that. In patches we had really good passages of play, so we need to just focus on doing that more consistently."
Willox finished as the leading goal scorer with five majors, while ruckman Brad Keilar was named the Magpies' best and first gamer Bailey Veale also impressed.
"Spacey (Keilar) always runs hard and is a big bloke that stands out. He gave us first use of the ball at the stoppages around the ground and in the centre," Willox said.
"Bailey is a 16-year-old Bolac kid who is on the Rebels' (development) list, so he has a heap of class and talent and reads the play well."
Willox also praised the performance of Lachie Kelly who played a 'run with' role on SM&W Rovers' ball magnet John Forbes.
Great Western scored its second victory of the season, downing struggler Woorndoo/Mortlake by 11 points, but Lions' coach Nick Thomas said the win was less than convincing.
"I'm not happy with how we got the win, but it's still four points," Thomas said.
"We had patches where we just weren't disciplined enough which was really frustrating.
"It happened all day. We would kick three or four then we would relax and they would kick three or four
"We made it really hard for ourselves because we were fighting to get the momentum back all the time."
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Tom McCord was named the Lions’ best, while BJ Birch-Burton kicked five majors to help the visitors claim victory.
A big gap is opening up between top team Tatyoon and the rest of the competition after the Hawks downed fellow contender Lismore/Derrinallum by 75 points.
After trailing at quarter time, Tatyoon began to hit its straps in the second term, piling on five goals to two with the team’s young guns in Arthur Armstrong, Mitchell Cronin and Jake McCarthy dominating.
The Hawks booted 10 goals in the final quarter to the Demons’ one, as the margin blew out. Kye Chapple finished with a bag of seven.
Moyston/Willaura boosted it percentage by 43 in its smashing of the Ararat Eagles.
The Pumas increased their lead at every change to eventually run out winners by a massive 172 points — 30.28 (208) to 6.0 (36).
The home side had nine individual goal kickers, with Lachie Hamilton leading the charge with six and Aaron McKinnis and John Vanderwaal five each.
Matt Peel and Jacob Hamilton racked up plenty of touches through the middle, while Josh Day was rock solid in defence.
The Eagles were well served by Mark Coole, Lewis Baker and Nathan Wemyss, but that trio had little support.