THE game called for a matchwinner, and it was a Demon who promptly obliged.
Bungaree midfielder Luke Mirtschin’s two pieces of individual brilliance lifted his side to a hard-fought eight-point victory over Newlyn on Saturday, and into third place on the Central Highlands Football League ladder.
With the game there for the taking at the start of the final term, it was Mirtschin that delivered the knockout blows.
Trailing at the final change by five points, Mirtschin put the Demons in front after seven minutes with a classy snap from deep in the pocket and then further ahead with a goal two minutes later from just inside the 50m arc.
Mirtschin’s conversions proved the only ones in a desperate last quarter, as the Demons stole the lead and starved the Cats of opportunities to claw it back.
The defeat will be hard for the Cats to take, having held a scoreboard advantage for much of the clash.
Centre-half forward Ben Stott booted two goals in the first term as Newlyn opened up a seven-point margin by quarter-time, before the Demons grabbed it back on the stroke of half-time through back-to-back majors from Matthew Sheirdan.
Tristan May inspired the Cats with a big third term, winning the contested ball, booting the opening goal of the quarter and playing a big hand in another as the visitors broke away to a five-point lead at the final change.
However, it wasn’t enough as the determined Demons took the initiative early in the last quarter and held on for a gutsy victory.
Bungaree coach Greg Middleton said it was an all-round performance from his side that secured the win.
“It wasn’t just (Mirtschin). We obviously needed that little bit of luck and x-factor, but I think everybody just played their role beautifully and stuck to our game plan and what we wanted to do,” he said.
“I thought we absorbed a lot of their attacks pretty well in that third quarter, because I thought they had a really good go at us. We knew if we could maintain their spread that we’d be a good chance to run over the top of them.”
The likes of Zac Denham, for his job on Newlyn’s Nathan Blomeley, Leigh Billington on joint coach Adam Sewell, and Shaun Finlayson when thrown from full forward and into the ruck all drew praise from Middleton after the match. Another standout was Martin Dufty, who provided plenty of run off half-back in his first senior game for the club.
Bungaree 9.7 (61)
Newlyn 8.5 (53)