Saints overcome late West surge

For the second week in a row, Millicent had to resist a late charge from an unfancied rival in round 8 of Western Border football on Saturday.

The Saints held all the aces in their contest against West Gambier, but the wet conditions at Malseed Park brought the Roos into play.

Players were greeted with a cool breeze and West showed it was not afraid to bring the heat when coach Daron McElroy won the first ruck contest before his teammates laid some hard tackles.

This set the tone for a low-scoring and brutal opening quarter and the contested scrap only heightened once the persistent showers arrived.

Teams now had to be creative and Reece Cowling put the Roos on the board by flicking the Sherrin through the big sticks despite slipping over mid kick.

The eye-catching moment was one of just two goals scored in the first term, but it did not stop the Saints from marching into the first break with the lead.

The rain was heavier for the second term, but the scorers were busier as the lead swapped hands.

Some gutsy work by Dylan Tincknell, Zac McGuinness, Dylan Bromley and Josh Werchon ensured Millicent held sway, but the Roos’ fighting spirit ensured there was only one kick in it.

But the conditions had became so slippery no majors were possible during the third term and Saints’ coach Clint Gallio said it turned into a classic case of wet weather football.

“Neither team got a chance to play their best football because the rain got quite heavy and it was super tough conditions,” he said.

“There were plenty of numbers around the football with the ball bouncing around the ground as it was a battle of the stoppages where each team would try and hold it in their forward line.”

However, Bromley broke the deadlock by nailing his set shot after the siren to give the Saints a match-high buffer of 13 points at the final break.

Despite experiencing such a heavy blow when players were returning to their final huddles, West used it as inspiration to launch one last counter-attack for glory.

Battle hardened warriors such as Lawry Bradley-Brown, Michael Minuzzo and Jesse Pfitzner had been fighting hard all day and they led the Roos to a rampage.

West ran in waves and kicked two quick goals to storm into the lead and threaten to steal the win.

However, a strongly minded Millicent led by Bromley managed to respond by hurting West on the rebound with “Bomber” kicking two clutch goals to ensure the reigning premiers avoided a shock defeat.

The visitors held on by 10 points and Gallio said the last quarter was certainly a wild ride.

“West came out of the blocks in the first 10 minutes of the last and it was looking like we were going to lose,” he said.

“Our back six had to fight for a while because there were a lot of numbers in their forward line, so when we slingshot the ball forward we found some space and Dylan kicked a couple of nice, composed goals.

“We just had to grind away and it was a bit nail-biting, so we were pleased to scrape away on a day like that.”

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