Lower Plenty all but secured a top-two finish in A Plus Labour Solutions Division 2 after defeating Diamond Creek by 32 points at Coventry Oval.
In a hard-fought affair, the Bears accuracy in front of goal in the first three quarters enabled them to come away with a 13.12 (90) to 7.16 (58) win.
Jack Wilkinson shone for the Bears, kicking four goals in his first game of senior football. Fellow debutant Brixton Timewell also hit the scoreboard, kicking his first goal in the final term, which sent teammates into celebration.
Ben Patterson increased his goal tally to 30 goals for the season, kicking three goals, while Patrick Flynn and Matthew Duckworth were again standouts for the Bears.
Diamond Creek had a day to forget in front of goal. At times the Demons were the superior side, but failed to capitalise on the scoreboard.
The Demons had plenty of opportunities to reduce the deficit in the third term but only managed 2.4 (16) for the quarter, without counting the few shots that went out on the full.
The game kicked off in the mist of plenty of anticipation as both sides were positioned inside the top four.
Lower Plenty got off to the best of starts, courtesy of Wilkinson’s intelligence around the stoppage to kick the first goal of the game.
Jai Norman reduced the margin to a point by kicking Diamond Creek’s first major, before Ben Patterson increased the visitors’ lead to seven points.
Diamond Creek began to take the ascendency, but as would be the case for the remainder of the day, the home side failed to make it count on the scoreboard.
Lower Plenty’s defence, led by Mitchell Clamp, held strong and against the run of play. Wilkinson ran into an open goal to boot his second goal, after two Diamond Creek defenders collided in a marking contest.
Diamond Creek got off to the best of starts in the second quarter by booting the first goal of the term. After the goal, Lower Plenty’s Ciaran Porter was handed a yellow card.
Despite the loss of Porter, Lower Plenty continued its dominance and goals to Corey Sleep, Thomas Blake and Wilkinson saw the visitors increase their lead to 18 points at half time.
Diamond Creek was the superior team in the third term but could not capitalise on its dominance. The Demons had all the attacking play and made it difficult for the Bears to clear their defence.
But for all their control of the contest, the Demons could only manage to kick two goals, while Wilkinson and Patterson slotted home majors against the run of play for the Bears.
At three quarter time, Diamond Creek coach Craig Hayes told his players to play “wet weather footy” and “be brave to take the game on”.
Ryan Pingree kicked the first goal for the Demons to reduce the margin under three goals, giving the home side a sniff at producing another come-from-behind win as it did against Lowe Plenty earlier in the season.
But from there Dale Nolan, Patterson and Timewell booted majors to seal the win for the Bears.
Lower Plenty will travel to Thomastown in Round 16, while Diamond Creek will play the Fitzroy Stars as it looks to jump back into the top-four after slipping to fifth place.
Final score: Diamond Creek 7.16 (58) def by Lower Plenty 13.12 (90)