MINYIP-MURTOA escaped with a win against Dimboola on Saturday after a match that looked set to be a massive boil-over.
The undefeated Burras trailed the winless Roos at every break before scrambling over the line for a 7.11 (53) to 7.6 (48) at home.
Burras coach Damian Cameron said it was a really good feeling for his side to come back like it did to win.
“To our boys’ credit, we were down until there was one minute and 10 seconds to go in the match but we kept battling,” he said.
“I said to the boys at three-quarter-time that if we could steal the game it would feel better than any of our big wins.”
Dimboola’s emphasis on playing a high-pressure game was on show right from the word go.
Coach Al McKinnon said it had been important for his side to come out strongly after a couple of tough weeks off the field.
“I sensed that we were going to be on pretty early in the day,” he said.
“The side warmed up strongly and there was five or six ball-ups in the middle of the ground to start the game before anyone got clear.
“We knew there and then that we were not going to let Minyip-Murtoa have anything easy.”
By the end of the first quarter, Dimboola had kicked ahead by 25 points as they kept their more-fancied opponents goalless.
Ben Miller was having a big impact on the game with two first-quarter goals.
“There was just a bit more belief in the way we played,” McKinnon said.
“We weren’t really doing anything differently, it’s just we turned up to play and we were applying lots of pressure across the board.”
The Burras stepped up in the second quarter but could only eat into the lead by 14 points by half-time.
“We worked our way into the game a bit more but we were still struggling to get it done on the scoreboard,” Cameron said.
The game became a tight tussle in the third quarter as the Roos fought hard to not give anything away.
Minyip-Murtoa were forced to change things up in order to try to find ways to get on top.
The experienced and big-bodied Clint Midgely moved into the midfield to work alongside Sam Winfield and Cameron as it became more important to win hard-contested football.
Nine points separated the sides with a quarter to play as the home crowd became increasingly nervous its side might not pull off another win.
Miller again stood up for the Roos to kick the first goal of the final quarter to open the lead further.
“He would have been the first to say he had been below his best to start the season,” McKinnon said.
“But he really stood up for us on Saturday and he could have even kicked another goal in the final quarter.”
As the clock ticked down, the Burras edged closer with five minutes to go.
Midgely kicked the goal to put his side in front for the first time with a little over a minute to go.
“It was a few of their big bodies up forward that got them over the line,” McKinnon said. “Midgely and Matt Coleman just stretched us in the end.”
Cameron was full of praise for the Dimboola side.
“I’m not sure if they are simply better than they’ve been playing but their pressure really had us done,” he said.
“Our skills were off a little as well, and there will be a lot we work on at training, but if they can perform like that for the rest of the season they are going to get quite a few wins.”
He also reserved praise for Miller’s work.
“He stood out around the contests with his ability to win the ball,” he said.
“His work rate was outstanding.”