Banyule have confirmed their spot in the top three of the 2022 MC Labour Division 2 competition after holding on to claim a heart stopping one-point win over Diamond Creek at Beverley Road Oval.
Though not fielding one of their strongest of sides, the Bears had enough quality on the park to prevail, overcoming a 19-point deficit in the second quarter to run out 10.6. (66) to 10.5 (65) victors.
While the Bears will head into finals with a double chance, the loss for the Creekers means they’ll drop out of the top three following Lower Plenty’s win over St Mary’s on Saturday.
Having been the engine of their midfield for most of the season, Riley Loton was at his usual best with his influence in the middle and around the ground pivotal in getting his side over the line.
He was aided by ruck Tim Martin who as usual, gave his side first use out of the middle. He also pushed back late in the final term to take some crucial intercept marks when the game was on the line, he’d prove to be a difference maker in the side’s narrow victory.
Joshua Page, in just his ninth game of the season, also had an impressive day, while Rueben Blackmore-Moore played well rotating across half forward and the wing.
Youngster James Kayrooz led the scoring with three goals to take his goal tally to 42 goals in just his first year of senior football.
Matthew Lewis, Nicholas Barro and Hugh Kavanagh were named amongst the top three players for Diamond Creek with the trio gallant in the loss.
Barro partnered up well with Sage Dicello up forward, finishing the day with three goals apiece and caused headaches for the Bears back six while Jai Norman finished with two.
Trailing at quarter time, the Creekers got going in the second term, at one point kicking five goals to one to pull out to a three-goal lead. Barro, Dicello and Norman all kicking three goals in quick succession at the midway point of the second quarter.
However, two late majors from Paul Harris’ ensure Banyule took the momentum into the main break despite trailing.
The Bears did indeed pick up where they left off at the start of the third term, kicking four goals to two to take a slender eight-point lead at three quarter time.
Dicello and Kayrooz would trade goals early in the fourth term, and with the game in the balance, Norman would mark and goal with just over five minutes to go to get his side within two points.
Just moments later, the Creekers star forward had the chance to put his side in front but instead hit the post with his shot on goal.
Andrew Tranquilli’s side continued to push forward, desperate to put any score on the board in the dying stages. But the Bears were resolute in defence and as the siren sounded, Beverley Road Oval roared as one.