In a thrilling afternoon of Melbourne Greyhounds Division 1 action, Macleod were able to hold on and claim an important five-point victory over North Heidelberg at De Winton Park.
After a slow first term, the Roos found their feet, never giving up the lead from the 11-minute mark of the second quarter to prevail 9.13 (67) to 9.8 (62).
The win puts Macleod level on points with the Bulldogs, with both sides sitting two points shy of the top five, although the remaining teams in the competition will play their Round 10 fixtures next week.
Patrick Flynn was the difference for the home side, with his influence in the ruck and around the ground allowing his teammates to gain first use of the football.
Lucas Hobbs and Liam Wanders were also impressive contributors while in his return for the Roos, James Condello proved dangerous to handle at times. Reid Brandt was instrumental inside 50, kicking 3.2 in his first game back from injury.
Charles Le Fanu and Jesse Tardio provided many highlights for the Bulldogs, particularly in the first half, while two important second half goals from Shane Harvey kept the visitors in the game during the late stages.
In the standalone fixture in the NFNL senior men’s competition, a healthy crowd was present to watch what was a highly anticipated contest.
After a scoreless opening five minutes, Brandt quickly made his presence felt, running into the open goal to kick the first of the afternoon.
But it was the Bulldogs who looked to be in control for the majority of the first term, with two goals from the in-form Billy Hogan giving the visitors a 14-point lead late in the quarter.
A goal on the siren from Roos forward Luke Joyce reduced the deficit to eight points at the quarter time break, with the major being the spark the home side needed heading into the second term.
Macleod were able to grab the momentum at the start of the second quarter, kicking the next three majors of the game, courtesy of efforts from Jordan Carelli, Haydon Manuel and Brandt, to suddenly give the Roos a nine-point lead.
North Heidelberg skipper Kyle McDonald was able to respond with a goal of his own, ultimately keeping the deficit under a goal at the main break.
Craig Hayes’s side continued to take over in the third term, going on another run of unanswered goals with Lucas Hobbs, James Condello and Brandt again all combining to extend their advantage to 23 points at the midway point of the quarter.
Condello’s major was particularly special, with his teammates coming from everywhere to show their support in his first game back for the Roos.
On the flipside, the Bulldogs were losing focus and were beginning to make ill-disciplined decisions.
As a result, Jesse Tardio and Billy Hogan were yellow carded approaching time on in the quarter, seemingly making things going from bad to worse for the visitors.
However, North Heidelberg seemed to lift their efforts, as they wrestled back control of the contest to kick three consecutive majors of their own. Goals from Shane Harvey, Adam Braendler and Braidyn Hirt on the siren quickly put Jason Heatley’s side in the hunt, trailing by nine points at three quarter time.
Shane Harvey picked up where things left off in the fourth term, kicking his second major to reduce the margin to just two points for the Bulldogs at the five-minute mark, the closest it had been since the second quarter.
Macleod had their chances to halt the momentum of the Bulldogs but could only muster behinds at the early stages of the quarter before an important major from Anthony Doherty gave them a more comfortable 11-point lead.
Doug Morris then quickly responded for the visitors with an impressive set shot conversion from 60 metres out to again reduce the deficit to under a kick for North Heidelberg.
The final 10 minutes provided many opportunities for both sides to claim the all-important next goal, particularly Reid Brandt who missed a simple shot on goal to seal the game in the last few moments of the contest.
Fortunately for Macleod, they would remain with their slight advantage when the siren sounded, sending cheers around De Winton Park.