July 24, 2017

Euroa has reaffirmed its status as a genuine premiership contender after defeating Shepparton in a Memorial Park thriller on Saturday.

Euroa has reaffirmed its status as a genuine premiership contender after defeating Shepparton in a Memorial Park thriller on Saturday.

The Magpies kicked six unanswered goals in the third quarter to set up a two-point victory, but they were made to work for it as the Bears hit the front midway through the final term.

The Bears were three goals behind at three-quarter-time, but goals from Mitch Brett, James Wong, who kicked 5.3, and Ben Davies gave them a two-point lead.

With the run of play and wind against the Magpies, David Mole and former coach Nathan Gilliland stood up to kick three goals between them in quick succession to seemingly secure victory.

When we all thought it was over, the Bears came again.

Luke Minogue and Ben Davies popped up for the visitors to cut the 15-point deficit to just two with a minute to go, but JD Hayes’ side was able to hold on in a classic match.

‘‘It is bloody awesome to get the win, it was a tough game and we were made to work for it,’’ Hayes said.

‘‘It was a cracking contest, they are a good side and I am just happy for our boys to get the job done.’’

Gilliland’s second goal in the final term produced a leg break Shane Warne would have been proud of.

The veteran, who was brought into the side last week, snapped from 45m out and with the crowed watching on in disbelief the football trickled at right angles, before going through the big sticks.

‘‘He was brilliant up there, Lauchlan Dalgliesh was awesome too and same with Jett Trotter,’’ Hayes said.

‘‘We knew we had the run in us, but I was getting a little bit nervous they were going to sneak a winner, fortunately we held off in a pretty entertaining game.’’

Remarkably, it was the first time since round seven 2014 where opposing sides have kicked more than 100 points in a Goulburn Valley League game.

Dalgliesh, who played three AFL games for Essendon in 2013, was pushed to the wing after half-time and the dashing left-footer starred, kicking two goals in a match-winning performance, while Trotter was a livewire with three of his own.

The Magpies replaced the Bears in second with the win.

‘‘That third quarter had a really big impact, they held us goalless and they kicked six of their own,’’ Bears coach Brad Campbell said.

‘‘I think when we want to play we are a very good side, but when we don’t there is a big gap between our worst and best football at the moment.

‘‘It is something that we need to try and fix heading into the finals.’’

Ash Holland was sensational in the ruck for the Bears, playing a commanding role in his side’s final quarter fightback, while Davies and Wong, who kicked three goals in the first term, were also pivotal.

However, Wong’s impact was somewhat curtailed in the second half after Adam Tarrant replaced Ben Harrison on him midway through the second term.

Tarrant had the better of Wong in an enthralling second half battle as Campbell’s side pushed the Magpies without the likes of injured pair Luke Smith and David Stretton, as well as VFL duo Harry Boyd and Matt Brett.

The Magpies were also without a gun of their own, but Hayes expected former Melbourne midfielder Rohan Bail to return relatively soon.

‘‘He will be back after the bye, so we are looking forward to see him running around again,’’ Hayes said.

‘‘I think it just goes to show though the amount of depth and belief we have though in this side, we are able to get the job done without some of our better players.’’

The Bears will have to back up against Benalla in another crucial clash at home on Saturday, while the Magpies travel to play sixth-placed Rochester.

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