KILCUNDA-BASS has dealt the first blow to Dalyston’s premiership defence, holding on for a thrilling one-point win to kick start its 2016 season.
With the match moved to Bass due to incomplete ground-works at Dalyston, showers cleared just in time for the blockbuster clash.
The match started evenly as the ball moved quickly from end-to-end but tight defence from Dalyston’s Brad Fisher and Kilcunda-Bass’ Adam Miller halted scoring until the eight-minute mark.
Returning goal-kicking machine Kael Bergles broke through for the Panthers when he marked and converted the set shot to give the home side the early lead.
Bergles was in the action again when he marked and goaled from directly in front, before Bret Thornton found Chris Graham with a handpass into an open goal square for Dalyston’s first goal.
Magpies’ livewire Glen Parker cut the deficit moments later with a running goal, but the Panthers had the answer through new recruit Basil Sibosado, who slotted a lovely running goal from 40m out to increase the lead.
Kilcunda-Bass have had a busy off-season recruiting and another new recruit Taylor Gibson joined in the action when he kicked back-to-back goals.
But a careless error from the Kilcunda-Bass defence saw Parker swoop and boot a vital goal before the siren to cut the deficit to three points at the first break.
Young gun Michael Marotta got Dalyston off to the perfect start in the second quarter with a long goal on the run straight out of the centre bounce.
The match continued to provide an even contest, with Sibosado continuing to cause headaches for the Dalyston defence, evading two opponents and steering through another goal to stretch the lead to 11 points.
A free kick and goal to Jackson Brooker saw the two sides go goal for goal, with Kilcunda-Bass recruit Mitch Cochrane running into an open goal square after a Bergles’ handball.
Graham responded for the Magpies after a free kick before a strong mark by Thornton and subsequent goal from 50m before the siren saw Dalyston trailing by four points at the main break.
Kilcunda-Bass youngster Jaidyn Burgess extended the lead after half time with a classy running goal, before Bergles marked and slotted another goal to create a handy 16-point buffer.
But the reigning premiers responded, with three unanswered goals from Thornton, Brooker and Thornton again to regain the lead.
The intensity from both sides had risen with spectators getting their money’s worth.
Bergles kicked another to wrench back the lead for the Panthers, but a late goal by Graham saw Dalyston take a three-point lead into the three-quarter time huddle.
The final term was a low-scoring affair with Ryan Fitzgerald and Dean Wylie battling it out in the middle, with both players clearly their side’s best throughout the day.
Thornton juggled a mark inside 50 and converted to extend Dalyston’s lead, with the Magpies attacking strongly in the opening five minutes and Kilcunda-Bass holding on for dear life.
A couple of near misses cut the lead to seven points, before Bergles marked, spun around and kicked his fifth goal of the day to level the score.
A narrow miss by the Panthers gave them a slender one-point lead, before an inspiring mark and goal by Sibosado put his new side seven points ahead.
Blake Carew and Danny Wells both had big last quarters with the wingers vital players for their clubs as the last quarter tussle went on.
A last ditch effort by Dalyston saw Brooker mark and convert from 20m out, but it was too little, too late as the Panthers held on for a memorable one-point win.
Dalyston’s start to the season doesn’t get any easier when it travels to Stony Creek this week to face the improved Lions, while Kilcunda-Bass will take confidence into its Round 2 contest against Foster at home.
Read more football reports in this weeks edition of the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times.
To subscribe to our digital edition: https://sgst.com.au/ezine-publication/