Montmorency gave its Meadows Greyhounds Division 1 finals aspirations a massive boost, defeating Macleod by eight points in a dramatic Round 17 encounter at De Winton Park.
An arm wrestle in every sense, the Magpies were able to blow the game open with a brilliant five-minute burst at the start of the last quarter and then hold on for the 8.6 (54) to 6.10 (46) win.
Montmorency will play finals for the first time since 2014 if it defeats bottom-placed neighbour Lower Plenty in the final round. Macleod will need to beat West Preston-Lakeside and hope Lower Plenty causes a boilover to reach a sixth-consecutive finals series.
In coach Garry Ramsay’s first trip to De Winton Park since taking over as Magpies coach, Ramsay said there was no extra motivation going into this match-up
“I’ve got huge respect for the Macleod Football Club and I always know that they will play a good, honest, tough brand of footy and I knew we had to bring it to the table,” he said.
“It was a really tough game of footy. I was really pleased with the way our boys stuck to their kicking patterns and held on to their tackles against bigger bodies.”
Jai Robinson was instrumental for Montmorency, using his booming left boot to drive the visitors forward in tough conditions, while applying immense pressure when he didn’t have the ball.
Stephen McCallum was the only multiple goal scorer for the Magpies with two majors, while Jordan Steele and Jesse Donaldson also snuck forward for goals in trademark performances.
Connor Dalgleish and Adam Swierzbiolek fought it out all day in the ruck, with both gaining ascendancy at different points. Swierzbiolek was named best for the home side in his club debut.
Muhammad Saad was the only multiple goal scorer for the Kangaroos, with three goals.
Unfortunately for the Roos, they lost star utility Brad Leggett midway through the match with what appeared to be a fractured finger.
Donaldson got the visitors off to the perfect start with a snap at goal for the first of the day.
The home side had to wait for their first major, with Saad snapping to level the scores at the 10-minute mark, before Patrick Martin converted a set shot 10 minutes later.
Stephen McCallum received a free kick on the siren and coolly slotted the set shot to keep his side within two points at the first break.
Stefan Uzelac converted a set shot from another free kick early in the second term to put Montmorency ahead, before Anthony Doherty got on the end of a nice transition play for Macleod to soccer through a reply.
Steele and Saad traded goals late in the first half as Macleod retained its two-point buffer at the main break.
The intensity ramped up after half time, with neither side able to gain the ascendancy until Saad snapped his third at the 17-minute mark.
Ben Ramsey replied four minutes later for the visitors to keep his side within a kick at the final break.
Patrick Fitzgerald marked and then slotted his only goal for the day six minutes into the last quarter, sparking his side into action.
McCallum kicked his second three minutes later before Brent Fotheringhame got on the end of the ensuing centre clearance to kick a running goal – much to the delight of the travelling Magpies fans.
The Roos continued to fight until the siren but were only able to kick one goal through Hobbs in the last quarter, as they succumbed to their first home loss since Round 4 and fell to sixth spot on the ladder.
Final score: Macleod 6.10 (46) def by Montmorency 8.6 (54)
Goal Kickers: M. Saad 3, L. Hobbs, K. Manuel, P. Martin
Best Players: A. Swierzbiolek, B. Foster, D. O’Brien, L. Hobbs, J. Baker, P. Martin
Goal Kickers: S. McCallum 2, J. Donaldson, P. Fitzgerald, S. Uzelac, J. Steele, B. Fotheringhame, R. Howe
Best Players: J. Robinson, C. Dalgleish, S. McCallum, J. Donaldson, J. Steele, A. Bernardi