By David Nagel
Narre Warren and Doveton combined to produce something special at Kalora Park on Saturday with the Magpies riding a 10-goal last quarter to a 45-point, 19.17(131) to 13.8(86), victory to keep their top-three hopes alive.
The final margin flattered the home side, who had to fight hard –in both a football and physical sense- to shake off a brave challenge from an undermanned but very proud Doves outfit.
Scores were locked -86 each- at the 13-minute mark of the final term before the Magpies piled on seven unanswered goals to run away from the tiring visitors.
This was local football at its finest –and also its toughest.
Four yellow cards were handed out in the final term alone, added to that of Trent Cody’s in the second quarter, on a day where there was no place for the faint hearted. Narre Warren skipper Dylan Quirk conceded it was a very tough day at the office.
“Yeah it was, it was probably back to the Narre-Doveton days of old, probably 10 years ago when we were the best two sides fighting it out for the flag,” Quirk said after the match.
“Days like this were probably the norm back then I guess.”
The Magpies wasted early opportunities, kicking 4.7 to 2.0 in the opening term on a perfect day where the wind had very little impact. The Doves fought back brilliantly, kicking 9.7 to 5.5 through the middle stages of the match to open up a seven-point lead at the final change.
Taylor Joyce extended the margin to 13, just 45 seconds into the final term, before the Magpies took control.
Aaron Wilson dribbled one through from close range; Quirk kicked a long bomb from outside 50, before Nick Scanlon converted a spectacular mark at the top of the goal-square. Dean Kelly then broke the deadlock at the 17-minute mark, before a brilliant running goal from Cody saw a massive roar erupt from the packed Narre Warren member’s area.
A stunning soccer-goal from Stewie Scanlon then stretched the margin to 20 to break the Doves’ fighting spirit for good.
The inconsistent Magpies may be able to build from here.
“Hopefully Heath (coach Heath Black) was right when he said the toughness of that last quarter might have flicked a switch,” Quirk said.
“It might be something that we needed. We haven’t been that far away but we’ve just had bits and pieces of games where we’ve just fallen away and it’s cost us. But if that’s what it takes, a bit of hard tough footy, to give us a kick up the bum then I’m all for it.”
Youngster Tom Miller was outstanding for the Magpies, standing tall under the ferocious heat of battle.
In other games, Berwick kicked the first five goals of the match and maintained that advantage to record a 32-point victory over Tooradin, while Cranbourne was forced to work hard for it 47-point victory over a determined Pakenham.
And Beaconsfield produced the most emphatic performance of round nine with a crushing 141-point, 24.23(167) to 4.2(26), victory over Officer at Starling Road.
This was expected to be the closest match of the round but the Eagles kicked 9.5 to 0.1 in the opening term to put the issue quickly to bed. Speedster Lachie Modica kicked six for the winners, Troy McDermott and Troy Aust five apiece, while Ryan Bromley was a key plank in defence.
Officer coach Doug Koop will be hoping for an improved effort when the Kangaroos host Doveton this Saturday.
VIDEO: Narre Warren sing their song after the great win over Doveton. WARNING: Video contains some coarse language.