PINES have pulled off a major upset in MPNFL Division One football on Saturday, defeating top of the ladder Sorrento at their own home ground in a tense contest.
Pines got off to a red-hot start at David Macfarlane Reserve, kicking the opening three goals of the game inside five minutes to put the Sharks on the back foot right from the outset.
Sorrento settled to get back into the contest, keeping the margin at just 11 points at the first break. Pines again flexed their muscle in the second term though and ran away to a 28 point lead by the half-time break.
With tensions high, the game threatened to boil over on a number of occasions in the first half. Pines fans exchanged words with Sorrento players to try and get under their skin, with Leigh Poholke and Troy Schwarze being targeted.
The momentum swung in the second half, as Sorrento pushed back and showed the class that made them the team to beat in this year’s competition. The Sharks battled hard to whittle the margin down to three points in the closing moments of the game but eventually ran out of time.
The siren sounded with Pines just ahead, as they held on to secure a thrilling win 14.12 (96) to 15.9 (99) in a game of the year contender.
Pines coach Patrick Swayn said after the game that he was happy with how his side handled their aggression in the tense contest.
“This was a great win. We needed these four points because it’s a really tight competition at the moment. We just needed to get the win and we got it, but we’ll learn a lot from that last half. We’ve been one of the better second half sides in the comp but they really threw it at us,” Swayn said.
“It’s an emotional game, and I thought the umpires were spot on with it today. It was a really good physical contest and I think that the fans would agree that it was a great game as well.”
Sorrento coach Luke Tapscott, who was one of the Shark’s best on the field during the game, said that despite the setback he was confident that his side would bounce back.
“We let them jump us in the first five minutes. We know they love to start a game strong and we were playing catch up from that point on,” Tapscott said.
“I think it’s a positive that we can come back and not go into our shells. We really pulled it back late in the first quarter and we were only a couple of scoring shots down so I don’t think there are any alarm bells. We just need to make sure we’re ready to go right from the first siren.”
Pines’ Tom McDermott was one of the best afield, with his five first-half goals setting his side up for victory.
At John Coburn Oval, Frankston YCW earned their place back inside the top five with a gritty win over Mornington.
The Stonecats started strong in the first term to claim a 20 point lead at the first break before Mornington wrestled back to claim a six-point advantage of their own going into half-time.
In a see-sawing contest, YCW snatched the lead back in the third term and held on to fight off a brave Bulldogs outfit 12.12 (84) to 11.7 (73).
Joshua Patullo booted four majors for the Stonecats, while Kyle Hutchinson continued his good run of form with a best on ground performance.
The Stonecats snatched fifth place from their cross-town rivals Frankston Bombers, who dropped out of the finals spots after a disappointing loss to Bonbeach.
Both sides traded blows in a thrilling first half, with the margin standing at just two points in favour of Bonbeach at the half-time break.
Despite looking like it would go down to the wire, the Sharks ran away with the game in the second half, establishing a 25 point buffer in the third term that would prove to be insurmountable.
Frankston Bombers will now need to rely on YCW to drop points in the final three games of the year to make finals following the 10.11 (71) to 14.11 (95) loss. The win also puts Bonbeach within six points of fifth place, giving them a glimmer of hope going into the closing stages of the year.
At Regents Park, Edithvale-Aspendale took on Rosebud in a vitally important matchup for the home side. Given Sorrento’s loss to Pines, a win would see Edi-Asp go level on points with Sorrento heading into the final rounds of the home and away season.
Rosebud, who have suffered through a disappointing season so far, were left shell-shocked in the first term after Edi-Asp piled on six goals to none, taking a 42 point lead into the quarter time break.
Rosebud were much better in the second quarter and whittled back the lead to 17 points, but ultimately could not overcome the deficit created in the first term in the second half, as they fell to Edithvale-Aspendale 10.19 (79) to 8.12 (60).
Edi-Asp will play Sorrento in the final game of the season, with the result potentially determining who finishes on top of the ladder.
The final game of the weekend saw Mt Eliza take on the bottom of the ladder Seaford at Emil Madsen Reserve.
Despite looking much the stronger side on paper, the Redlegs were challenged in the first half, with scores level at the main break.
Despite their early signs of fight Seaford quickly succumbed to Mt Eliza in the second half, as the Redlegs ran away with a 14.16 (100) to 8.12 (60) win.