THERE was only one point in it at the last change and the battle for supremacy in the Korumburra-Bena versus Fish Creek game went right down to the wire last Saturday.
In the end, a solitary point, knocked through after a long shot by former Bulldog Justin Smith, in the dying minutes, was all that separated the sides.
But in a helter-skelter run to the finish, Korumburra-Bena might still have salvaged a draw or even snatched a win.
Ben Fitzpatrick, James North and Jake Cochrane were involved in transferring the ball from Fish Creek’s forward line into Paul Pattison’s hands with only seconds to go.
He set up for a shot, wide out on the flank, but with every chance that he would bring up some sort of score. Unfortunately his kick drifted millimetres wide on the breeze and out on the full.
The Creekers, including Gareth Park, cleared the ball out of the danger zone and the moment was passed… siren! Victory by one point to Fish Creek.
The result was a vital one as it allowed Fishy to jump above Korumburra-Bena into fifth spot, a game ahead in what could be a crucial outcome when final spots are allocated on August 16.
Fish Creek captain Trevor Hooker won the toss and kicked to the Korumburra town end which had been the scoring end throughout the earlier games.
Some big match-ups were soon in play with the Kangaroos young gun Gus Staley on the dangerous Cooke, Macri on Urie and Korumburra’s O’Brien with the big task on Damon and Griffiths on Hooker.
Korumburra-Bena was into attack first but it was Fishy which opened the goal scoring via a fine snap by Shane Urbans.
The Bulldogs answered immediately when Cooke got his hands on the ball and kicked a nice running goal.
But Fish Creek continued its attack on goals and with Manne winning in the centre and getting first use through Cooper and others they went on to kick three quick goals to Damon, Cooper and then another to Damon to get the lead out to three goals.
The Bulldogs got their second goal when Todd Mackie misfired from full back, kicking straight to Chris Redl who was alert enough to take full advantage.
Thankfully, though they got that one back when young Kieren Byers marked and goaled from the boundary allowing the Kangas to go into the first break with a 16 point lead.
At the huddle, the Bulldogs were more concerned with their missed opportunities up forward than with Fishy’s apparent control at the stoppages and set about putting both those things right in the second quarter.
A couple of free kicks saw Fish Creek extend their lead early through Jake Buckland but with Chris Urie starting to lead a Bulldog revival, they put on five goals to two for the rest of the quarter, Urie and Cochrane among the scorers.
At half time, they’d cut the Creekers’ lead to four points and it was game on.
The second half was a dour struggle. Fish Creek had chances early in the third but inaccuracy in front of goal cost them until Damon managed the first major of the quarter and his fourth of the day.
The Burra weren’t going away however and they came on strong again with a goal to the lively youngster Hopkins, followed by a string of behinds, the last of which by Fitzpatrick gave the Dogs their first lead since very early in the day.
There was only one point in it at the last change and with the Bulldogs kicking to what had been the scoring end, the locals were quietly confident.
It was the Kanga’s Mackie who was moved forward, marked and evened the scores with a point early in the final term but it was sometime before anyone could break the deadlock.
At the 13 minute mark Fish Creek youngster Jake Buckland added some magic to the game with a strong attack on the ball leading to a fine running goal from just inside the 50 metre arc.
Shortly afterwards however, Josh Hopkins evened it up with his second for the day.
In the final minutes, both teams had chances but it was Justin Smith’s fading shot from the boundary, 30m to 40m out, that was knocked through for a point that will go down as the winner.
Best players for the Kangaroos were Gareth and Ethan Park, Gus Staley, Jake Buckland and Lachie Pratt while for Korumburra Bena, it was North, Fitzpatrick, Marshall, Pattison and Griffiths.