WHEN long-time counterparts Dalyston and Kilcunda-Bass met for their round four clash on Saturday, both teams entered the match winless and hungry for their first taste of victory.
A character-building win by the Dalyston reserves team, after a winless 2018, appeared to be an omen that a Magpie victory was on the cards however with a win apiece in direct competition last season this was no clear certainty as the game commenced.
In complete contrast to the Easter weekend, the conditions were overcast and cool. The Magpies had bolstered their line-up with Tylah Osbaldeston and Kainen Schrape while the inclusion of Panthers’ coach Damien Holmes for his first game of the season was a big positive for the visitors.
From the first bounce, Dalyston were quickly into stride and Luke Wakefield found Kevin McLean on the lead. Forty seconds in, he had his first.
The Panthers kept the early contest on an even keel but misses by Phillips and Gibson let the Magpies off the hook.
The Magpies seemed composed and with good ball movement Carew from the wing kicked long to Dryden whose centring pass hit up Kurt Thomas in easy distance for the team’s second.
Again Kilcunda-Bass had opportunities with Tom West and Hayden Speirings heavily involved only for the Pies defence of Silver, Wylie and Kelly to repel each attack.
Into time on Ryan Silver delivered delightfully to Darcy Brosnan and from the angle he split the sticks on his favoured left boot.
And with a second goal to McLean, minutes later, the Pies saw out the quarter with a twenty point lead.
The second term began untidily with a spattering of behinds. A double 50 metre penalty took the Panthers deep into attack, but once again they were denied with a rushed behind.
First blood for the quarter was again initiated by McLean as he kicked his third after taking an acrobatic mark in the goal square.
The Panthers were determined to counter-attack with Rosenow and Weightman busy around the ground. Finally, the team’s efforts were rewarded when Gibson poked a pass out to the advantage of Jake Smith, who evaded the tackler and bounced the Panther’s first through from the pocket.
Dalyston answered again through McLean who cleverly screwed the ball off his instep to stretch the lead to 25 points at the long break.
There must have been a few home truths told in the visitor’s rooms during half time as the Panthers returned with new intensity. They owned the ball early and kept it deep in their attacking zone. Phillip’s quick kick on the run just missed to the right and Holmes rattled the goal post before centre half forward, Taylor Gibson took a strong contested mark and goaled five minutes in.
They won the next clearance and Connor Steel this time was the target and he repeated the dose, from on the angle.
Then Scott Pugh laced out a pass to Jimmy Phillips boundary side but in range and he calmly split the middle and cut the lead to 8 points. Kilcunda-Bass had certainly risen and with Callander lifting in the ruck and Sam Watson rebounding from the back line they had all the momentum.
Dalyston’s man of the moment, Kevin McLean put in a great individual effort to kick his next. Leading wide under pressure he trapped the ball on the boundary next to the old players race, baulked his opponent and spiralled through a scintillating sausage to add some breathing space.
Kilcunda-Bass replied through a goal to Speirings but in a quick response Dalyston scored the next as Osbaldeston was taken high.
A further goal to new recruit Tom Boxell, deep in red time, gave the Pies the lead going into the last 9.5.59 to K-B’s 5.9.39.
The small but vocal crowd was drawn into what promised to be an intriguing final stanza. And that’s exactly what was served up as the teams traded goals as the contest opened up.
It was game on when K-B’s Layton Sketcher was held without the ball and he delivered to the advantage of Gibson 20 metres out.
On the rebound Dalyston drove deep and Dryden handed off to Schrape who snapped the reply from close range.
Good work by Shelton Rosario from the wing onto Sketcher who fired the ball deep to the goal square contest allowed Speirings to sweep up the crumbs and post another for the Panthers.
Only for Dean Wylie who had become pivotal for the Pies to deliver a perfect pass to McLean in the pocket. Tight angle, no problem and Kev slots number six.
The pendulum swung again and young Finn Homer marked and goaled confidently from the pocket to bring the Panthers back to within 15 points with plenty of time on the clock.
Wylie stepped in once more with a goal to settle his team only for Taylor Gibson to answer with his third goal at the other end.
It was then left to McLean to punctuate his personal great day in the office with another special moment. With great judgement Kevin marked over the back of his opponent on the flank, played on with a bounce and jagged his seventh to give Dalyston victory by 19 points.
The Magpies now travel to Koo Wee Rup hoping to continue their winning ways. Kilcunda-Bass will host Bunyip next Saturday.
Kevin’s seven ignites the Pies