Burra edge Redbacks to return to winners list

Published on Sunday, June 30, 2024

Author : Hamish Phillips

St Mary’s picked up a key MC Labour Division 2 victory to end a three-game losing streak, edging Panton Hill by 11 points at A.E. Cracknell Reserve.

In a low scoring contest effected by the wet weather, the Redbacks managed to lead by five points at half time, before the Burra’s defensive unit stood tall in the second half, bringing the ball to ground on numerous occasions and taking plenty of intercept marks.

Five goals were kicked between the two sides in the second half, but four of them were produced by the away side, which was enough to prevail 6.8 (44) to 4.9 (33).

With the way other Round 12 results fared, St Mary’s have now created a crucial 10-point gap from sixth placed Lower Plenty, meanwhile Panton Hill still sit just four points away from fifth placed Thomastown despite back-to-back defeats.

Both ruckmen produced a great duel throughout the afternoon. Huon MacGibbon was brilliant with his follow up work and ability to have an impact around the ground, also managing to find his way on the scoreboard, while Nicholas Parks was terrific with his hitouts, and displayed great athleticism to allow his midfielders first use.

Rory Hanlon stood up once again in the Burra’s midfield to continue his great season, He thrived in the wet conditions, going in hard at every contest to win the ball for his side. Benjamin Young meanwhile led things in defence, particularly in the second half.

Oliver Parks was another to impress for the home side, helping his brother Nicholas in the ruck, but also showcasing his excellent marking ability around the ground as he’s done so all season.

Right from the centre bounce, fans were given an insight into the style of play that would dominate the contest. The wet conditions saw a contested affair with no side gaining any clean possession early.

After a three-goal opening quarter last week, Thomas Blake would again get things going for the home side with a great set shot from a tight angle, before the Burra’s Lachlan Potter answered straight away, after snapping truly from a congested pack.

As the quarter hit its latter stages, Blake would pop up again, with his second major just as good as his opener, as a tough set shot from the opposite pocket split the middle.

However, the visitors would again respond to have the last say of the term and take a lead into quarter time, as MacGibbon nailed the snap on goal from a ruck contest, which bounced its way through the big sticks.

With one-point separating the teams, the rain didn’t let up to start the second term, as the intensity lifted.

The highlight of the quarter came in the initial stages, when St Mary’s forward Jack Cicitta streamed into the open goal, only to be run down by Lachlan Buckley in an effort that was greatly appreciated by the Redbacks faithful.

As the quarter wore on, Fabian Carelli’s men found themselves with the ball in their hands often and made a conscious effort to drive the ball forward at any cost. But they were unable to capitalise on opportunities due to their disposal efficiency, combined with the slippery conditions.

Scoring proved difficult for both teams as a result, with both defensive units doing well to repel any opposition kicks forward, but it would be the Redbacks’ Riley Livingstone who produced the only goal of the quarter after a great kick from the paint of 50.

That major helped Simon Amore’s men take a five-point advantage into half time, but the Burra came out of the main break determined to take their chances.

They produced three great opportunities, with Connor Kissane kicking a long-awaited goal for the visitors to give them back the lead.

The St Mary’s defence impressed particularly in this quarter and didn’t give the home side any opportunities of substance on goal, conceding just four behinds for the quarter as a result.

With seconds remaining in the third term, Cicitta kicked his first of the match, with a snap on goal finding the big sticks, as the Burra took a five-point lead into the last term.

Again, the intensity lifted to another level to start the final term, with both teams still in a good position to claim victory.

Hayden Bickerton would make it three consecutive goals for the away side following a terrific solo effort, which saw him paddle the ball to himself before dribbling through a goal from the pocket.

Fabian Carelli’s men looked to play possession football and run down the clock at every opportunity while holding a two-goal lead, but the Redbacks kept pressing forward and when Jaspa Gook was able to get on the scoreboard, Panton Hill trailed by just six points.

The ball would live inside the Redbacks’ forward 50 for the majority of the last term, as they desperately tried to find the go-ahead goal.

They did manage another behind, but when the match was on the line, Cicitta would stand tall for St Mary’s, taking a fantastic diving mark inside 50 before calmly slotting through his second major of the match to boost his side’s lead to 11 points.

It would prove to be a vital goal that sealed an important four points for the Burra.

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