Border Mail Round 14 – Review
Culcairn’s top-two aspirations survived a huge scare against a determined Henty at Culcairn on Saturday.
Henty trailed by 10 points at the last break and with its finals hopes on the line, produced a spirited final quarter.
Two goals to Damian Cupido and another to Chris Willis in the opening 10 minutes handed the Swampies an eight point lead.
Dane Hallinan helped the home side wrestle back the lead when he booted two goals in quick succession.
Cupido booted his seventh shortly after as the Swampies regained the lead by a point with less than 10 minutes remaining.
With the match up for grabs, some individual brilliance by Lions match-winner Jye Shields proved the difference.
Shields somehow intercepted a pass across half-back as the Swampies were surging forward and set-up Dennis Pedemont for a goal.
Hallinan sealed the match shortly after, when he booted his third for the quarter as the Lions secured a stirring 15.13 (103) to 14.8 (92) victory.
The win ensures the Lions remain in top-two contention with four rounds remaining.
Eighth-placed Henty’s finals aspirations hang by a thread, a game and percentage behind sixth-placed Holbrook.
Culcairn coach Josh Hillary missed the clash with family commitments.
Assistant coach Tim Haines was handed the reins and was relieved to emerge with the four points over one of the Lions’ fiercest rivals.
“Henty were probably unlucky not to beat Osborne last week and we knew they would come to play with their season on the line,” Haines said.
“They have got their fair share of match-winners that can do some damage if you don’t get your match-up’s right.
“But we also had a bit to play for and needed to win to remain in the hunt for a top-two finish.
“We let ourselves down the last two rounds against Osborne and Brock-Burrum.
“So it was important to rebound strongly and it was pleasing to find another gear when challenged.”
The Swampies suffered a blow before the match with Jared Brennan missing after suffering concussion the previous week.
They were also without developing ruckman Nathan Klimpsch, Zaniel Bin Busu and Zorren Bin Busu.
The highly-anticipated return of Sam Schulz for the Lions failed to eventuate after he hurt his ankle playing for GWS reserves the previous week.
The home side was best served by Tim and Dane Hallinan and Shields who is favourite to win the Azzi medal.
HOLBROOK has kept its finals hopes flickering with a stunning six point win over Brock-Burum at Holbrook on Saturday.
Josh Jones lasted less than five minutes with a burst appendix and had to be rushed to hospital.
The victory sets up a mouth-watering clash with Culcairn this week with the Brookers needing another upset to remain inside the top six.
After a slow start to the season, the Brookers have won seven of the past eight matches.
“Our form has been fairly solid for the past two months,” Brookers coach Matt Sharp said.
“We were able to play the match on our terms and our run and spread was damaging.
“We just need to keep winning to play finals.”