SEAFORD and Pines turned on the game of the season in MPNFL Peninsula Division on Saturday.
In a match that was expected to deliver so much, it didn’t disappoint, the massive crowd getting everything and more that it came for.
The Tigers led by 10 points at halftime but a seven-goal third quarter to the visitors gave them the gap they were looking for to go on and win the match.
The Pythons led by as much as 28 points in the final term before Seaford rallied with a couple of late goals. The final margin was 14 points, 17.10 (112) to 15.8 (98).
The match had everything. High marking, strong contests, incredible individual displays and even the goal umpire became the focus of attention when a Matt McCormack goal off the crowd smashed the goalie right in the face, dropping him to the ground.
To the crowd’s delight, after five minutes of lying on the deck, the goal umpire got himself to his feet and delivered a rigorous goal signal.
Pines always appeared to be the more dangerous side when the ball went into attack but it took an hour for the visitors to find their rhythm.
The big question for Seaford was how long were the structures going to stand up. In the first half, the Tigers were almost faultless, making life very difficult for the Pythons offence.
However, with time, patience, experience and maturity, Pines was able to break them down.
Whilst Lachy Marshall was the best player on the ground with his solid four quarter performance and three goals, it was the likes of Paul Scanlon and Luke Potts in the second half through the middle that helped to turn the game Pines’ way.
Young Dylan Smilie is quickly making a name for himself as one of the best ruckmen in the comp and his tap work to advantage on Saturday was a significant reason as to why the Pythons took control of the match.
Seaford’s Brayden Irving carved up the opposition in the first half but a master stroke by Pines’ coach Pat Swayne to swing Guy Hendry onto him on the wing was another key reason they took control.
There were great one-on-one battles everywhere, which Pines were able to win by game’s end.
Corey Ash had the job on the dangerous Damien Rayson and had the better of him, Rourke Fischer did a wonderful job on Aaron Edwards but the master still managed to boot six goals.
Ben Howlett had the job on Nick Boswell but the best running defender in the whole of the MPNFL was able to break the shackles often enough to cause problems and finish with a couple of goals.
Brad Doyle did everything to unsettle Tim Bongetti but ‘Bongo’ stood up at key moments in the game to finish with three goals.
Whilst Seaford coach Ben Murphy would have been disappointed with the result, there was more than enough to take away and be positive about.
Murphy’s structures stood-up for the most part – the challenge now is for his players to trust and commit to it for longer.
Kyle Matthews will make a big difference to the team when he comes back in. They missed his midfield rotation.
Nick Shannon looks like he needs a spell to get his knee right.
Whilst Rourke Fischer was good on Edwards, they missed his drive and bullocking higher up the ground. Edwards still kicked six goals. Would they do it a second time?
No-one looked like they could go with Brayden Irving deep in the forward line for Seaford. It would have been interesting to see him one out in the square.
Tommy Shaw was superb for the Tigers and has regained his brilliance after a couple of years away, while Jono Haidon is a real player with a big future.
Make no mistake, despite Seaford going down, they have a major role to play in the finals.
Pines are genuine flag contenders this season. Pace has always been an issue but that has been sorted. Depth is no longer a problem either with its reserves going well. They are in good shape at the pit.
Described by a spectator as one of the worst games of local footy he had seen in two years, Mornington picked up a valuable four points against Langwarrin.
The Doggies have struggled to get a win this season despite playing pretty good footy. On Saturday they led from start to finish to win 12.23 (95) to 4.8 (32).
Frankston YCW had the majority of its VFL contingent available, including Anthony Barry, and were able to get the job done over Chelsea 15.15 (105) to 7.7 (49). The Stonecats booted nine goals to three in the second half, Michael Debenham back and booting three goals.
Bonbeach continued to impress and knock over the second grand final team of 2016, smacking Mt Eliza 12.8 (80) to 7.11 (53).
Strong second and third quarters for Bonbeach made the difference, booting seven goals to three in that period with Trent Dennis-Lane booting three and Jackson Sole winning a heap of footy.
Edithvale-Aspendale did what it needed to do against Karingal but inaccuracy cost them early.
The Eagles trailed at halftime despite having 16 scoring (2.14) shots to seven but went on to win 12.22 (94) to 6.7 (43).