South Gambier’s supercoach Brayden Kain pushed his team to glory in a goal-scoring shootout with West Gambier on a more entertaining Saturday afternoon than some could have anticipated at Malseed Park.
The Roos were making gains before the bye, but it would have been a tall order to bring the fight to one of the strongest 22-man squad’s the Demons have put forward in 2022.
However, that was the case to the thrill of the home crowd as the plucky West team went goal for goal with the ladder leaders.
The hosts only needed a minute to impose itself when vice captain Jordan Williams scored from point-blank range, while some magic from the other leaders Lawry Bradley-Brown and Daron McElroy kept up the momentum.
But the twin towers of Brodie Foster and Kain were also making their presence felt at the other end of the ground with a fine display of marking and converting.
After 20 breathtaking minutes of football, only one point split the pair on the scoreboard and Kain was loving the contest.
“West threw everything at us and credit to the likes of Lawry, Daron and Jordan they hung around all day,” he said.
“They got them off to a great start, but we also stuck to our form and structures and kept persisting.”
After nothing separated the rivals who both landed some early blows, South made the knock-out punch when play resumed.
The Demons found their niche and opened the game up by using their signature fast-moving style.
With Mitch Harrold and Hamish Stevens teaming up beautifully on the wing, Liam Delaney linking plays together by hand, plus a power of work created by the likes of Joshua Woodall, Todd Reid and Emerson Marks around the ground, South was unstoppable, particularly in space.
Suddenly South stormed into the main break with a formidable 40-point lead and result was beyond doubt.
“We were patient waiting for the game to open itself up and the harder we worked, the easier it became,” Kain said.
“There was a small breeze favouring the netball courts end and we wanted to use that as much as we could, so we played on at all costs, took risks and brought the ball back through the middle.
“This was our strongest team of the season and when you have the likes of Mitch Harrold and Hamish Stevens on the wing you can just sit it in front of them.
“We got the ball forward really fast and it gave the forwards first opportunity which put us in a position to go on with the game.”
The beneficiaries of this lightning delivery were Kain and Foster, whose deadly goal-kicking accuracy scoring 16 majors propelled the Demons to their huge final score of 22.15 147.
The coach in particular had a field day, bringing up the 10-goal milestone for just the third time in his career.
The only downer on the 60-point win was a late injury to Scott Enderl, who appeared in agony hunched on the ground, but fortunately it was a minor recurrence of a previous knee injury.
The crowd certainly got their moneys worth on Saturday afternoon during a season where breaking the 100-point barrier has been an oddity.