EDFL: Demons prevail in see-saw affair
TULLAMARINE walked the fine line between finals berth and wooden spoon on Saturday as the Demons overturned a 23-point deficit to beat Northern Saints in EDFL division 1.
With one more game until the division officially splits, the battle for finals spots intensified with the Demons’ 15-point win that leaves just two games between third-placed Taylors Lakes and eighth-placed Hadfield.
Tullamarine squandered a 25-point second-quarter lead to trail by as many as 23 points in the third quarter, before rallying to win 17.11 (113) to 14.14 (98) at Leo Dineen Reserve.
Eighth will become last place on the ladder next Saturday night when the bottom six clubs in division 1 are relegated to form division 2.
Tullamarine would have been left behind as a back-marker in the race for top four had Steve Neilson (six goals), Cameron Hare and big-moment opportunist Lachie Smith not stepped up to overturn the Northern Saints’ lead.
Smith’s set-shot goal from the boundary line after the three-quarter-time siren pegged Tullamarine back to a three-point deficit at the last change.
Northern Saints had led by as many as 23 earlier in the quarter after Tullamarine went the equivalent of a quarter kicking just one goal.
With Bassman Abdulwahed prolific in the centre and Rocky Ferraro (four goals) coming into his own, it looked like the Saints were heading for a tie with Taylors Lakes for third on the ladder.
But Hare, fellow onballer Tom Delaney and wing/half-forward Sean Doyle arrested the slump in a final quarter as the lead changed four times.
Hare provided the most inspiring goal of the quarter, running down Adriano Luvara holding the ball before converting his set shot to give the Demons the lead.
Ferraro produced a left-footed snap on the run from 30m out to retake the lead.
But Colin Laurie wrestled back the lead for the Demons with a 40m set-shot goal, before a 50m penalty turned a tricky Neilson set shot into a certainty from the goal square.
Smith then ensured he would leave the game with two goals as he sunk a 40m running shot from the boundary to make the margin 14 points in time-on.