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DARLEY v EAST POINT
Darley produced a comeback for the ages to take down reigning premier East Point in the Ballarat Football League at Darley Park on Saturday.
Down by 34 points at quarter time, Darley ran over the top of the Roos by 14 points.
Despite the loss, East Point retains top position with one home and away round to play and with a last round bye will be the minor premier.
With Redan a shock loser to Lake Wendouree, Darley is now third and with a huge chance of grabbing second position and the double chance from Sebastopol with less than one percent separating them.
EAST POINT 155.03 48 - bye in round 18
SEBASTOPOL 15 127.88 48 - up three spots - v Lake Wendouree rd18
DARLEY 127.51 48 - up one spot - v Ballarat rd18
SUNBURY 119.73 48 - up two spots - Bacchus Marsh rd18
REDAN 119.49 48 - down three spots - Melton rd18
MELTON 132.02 44 - down three spots - v Redan rd18
Bacchus Marsh 122.65 32 - v Sunbury rd18
North Ballarat City 96.96 36 - v Melton South rd18
Lake Wendouree 67.30 30 - v Sebastopol rd18
Ballarat 70.71 22 - v Darley rd18
Melton South 39.06 12 - v North Ballarat City rd18
After conceding the first six goals of the match, Darley coach Heath Scotland - a late inclusion in the selected side which was srill without Nick Graham - rallied his troops and with big performances from senior players to wear down the undermanned Roos.
It was always going to be tough for East Point losing big men Brad Whittaker and Dallas Martin before half time.
Darren Leonard, Brian Graham and Jake Edwards spearheaded the fight back, while Luther Baker and Jake Ancrum backing up with another impressive performance.
With Clay Bilney also restricted in his movement and forced to play the majority of the contest up forward, East Point was unable to stop the Darley surge.
The Devils took a three-point advantage to three quarter time and from there it was their experience and general class that carried them home over East Point.
Scotland was elated. "What I'm really pleased with is that we have been in games where teams have got on a roll and we have fallen away. We were up against it at quarter time, getting belted on every level, but the boys were able to stick to a plan, not get rattled and grind out a victory.
"That's what I was super pleased about," he said.
East Point coach Jake Bridges focused on the positives despite the defeat.
"We sort of broke even around the ball once the game tightened up, but we just didn't capitalise on our forward entries. They probably made more of their opportunities. That was really the story. of the game for us.
"Having said that, we haven't finished on top for no reason," Bridges said.
Darley 0.3, 4.8, 8.9, 14.10 (94)
East Point 6.1, 7.8, 7.11, 11.14 (80)
GOALS - Darley: Jake Edwards 4, Shane Page 2, Jackson Carrick 2, Brian Graham 2, Bailey Waasdorp 1, Harley Inglis 1, Jake Ancrum 1, Heath Scotland 1. East Point: Jake McQueen 3, Jordan Johnston 2, Jacob Brown 2, Cameron Lovig 1, Jordan Taylor 1, Nicholas Canny 1, Clay Bilney 1
BEST - Darley: Shane Page, Brian Graham, Darren Leonard, Luther Baker, Jake Edwards, Leigh Spiteri. East Point: Mitchell Walsh, Daniel Tung, Joel Van Meel, Jordan Taylor, Drew Murphy, Cameron Lovig
LAKE WENDOUREE v REDAN
Lake Wendouree continued its domination of Redan with an 11-point win at CE Brown Reserve on Saturday.
The Lakers have lost just once in nine encounters with Redan in four seasons, with the Lions' only win coming earlier this season.
While it is little more than a consolation victory for Lake Wendouree, the ramifications for Redan are significant.
With East Point losing, the defeat cost Redan top position and the Lions are now set to miss the double chance, and go to an elimination final.
Already with captain Liam Hoy among players missing for the game, Redan was also without coach Jarrett Giampaolo.
He handed the coaching reins to Greg Lamb while he attended the birth of his second child.
In addition to losing, Shaun Grigg struggled with knee trouble and finished the game on the bench - putting him in doubt for Redan's all-important round 18 clash with Melton as the battle for positions within the top six continues.
For Lakers, it was their second win on end and with coach Dale Power locked in for another year reason to be upbeat going into the off-season.
Power believes giving his players more freedom and making the game plan simpler are key factors behind an improvement after a lean patch.
He said he had given Lakers a free rein to take the game on, allowing them not be too dictated by too many team rules and structures.
Power said the injection of new blood on Saturday also appeared to give the side more energy.
With Lakers' under-17s not playing, they promoted Sid Rajesh and Kai Lohmann for their senior debuts.
Hoy said while pre-match the feeling was good, Redan had started flat - resulting in Lake Wendouree kicking away and leaving the Lions far too much to do late.
Lakers opened with six goals in the first quarter to lead by 30 points.
Redan chipped away in the second term, but again after half-time it was Lake Wendouree which had the game on its terms when it counted most to have a 27-point advantage at the last change.
Redan finished the better, but it had too much to do - prompting Giampaolo to promise changes for next round.
Nick Barker replaced Giampaolo in the selected side and first-gamer Kayne Councillor from the under-19s was promoted after a corked leg forced out Alex Harvey.
Lake Wendouree 6.3, 7.8, 10.14, 11.16 (82)
Redan 1.3, 5.7, 6.11, 9.17 (71)
GOALS - Lake Wendouree: Callum Mc Kay 2, Bailey Edwards 1, Kai Lohmann 1, Caleb Hepworth 1, Jacob Coxall 1, Mitchell Phillips 1, Ashley Simpson 1, Ben Taylor 1, Siddharth Rajesh 1, Shane Hutchinson 1. Redan: Lachlan George 2, Cooper Atchison 2, Orren Stephenson 1, Shaun Grigg 1, Kayne Councillor 1, Liam O'Brien 1, Dean Mathews 1
BEST - Lake Wendouree: Joshua Bibby, Liam Hepworth, Scott Carlin, Jacob Coxall, Bailey Edwards, Jack Elkington. Redan: Cooper Atchison, Jacob Short, Keenan Waterbury, Dean Mathews, Dean Chester, Liam O'Brien
MELTON v SEBASTOPOL
Sebastopol climbed back into second position with a finals-like 19-point win over Melton at MacPherson Park on Saturday.
It was strong response by the Burras after a loss to East Point the previous week.
Whether Sebastopol can hold on to second remains to be seen, with it less than one per cent ahead of third-paced Darley and the top five sides on the same five premiership points.
However, the Burra has given itself every change ahead of a clash with Lake Wendouree.
Sebastopol fell in by one point last time it met Melton, but this time the Burra was much more convincing - even though it did not get away until the last term.
Bloods coach Aaron Tymms said Sebastopol had improved significantly since their previous clash.
Tymms described Melton's opening quarter as "flat" and had failed to do enough in the first and third quarters.
Although disappointed to see the game slip through its fingers, Tymms was not too disappointed, knowing the Bloods were just a few weeks away from another finals campaign.
He said they had gone through a tough period to secure a top six berth, with almost game like a final.
Sebastopol coach Leigh Hutchinson saids there was no doubt that the return of three high quality players in Luke Kiel, Matt Austin and James Keeble made made a big difference.
He said their presence alone had enabled the Burra to create more space and in general open up the game, and with it changing the whole structure.
Hutchinson said Sebastopol had been well aware it needed to bounce back.
He said while making finals after getting so close last year was satisfying, no one was going to be content with simply doing that.
"We want more. It's now about winning finals."
Sebastopol 1.3, 5.7, 7.11, 10.14 (74)
Melton 1.2, 4.3, 6.7, 8.7 (55)
GOALS - Sebastopol: James Keeble 3, Lachlan Cassidy 3, Michael Powell 2, Tobias Thoolen 1, Luke Kiel 1. Melton: Jai Whitehand 2, Jaycob Hickey 2, Mark Orr 1, Ashden Crone 1, Jack Walker 1, Ryan Davis 1
BEST - Sebastopol: Luke Kiel, Marshall Cain, Lachlan Cassidy, James Keeble, Tony Lockyer, Matt Austin. Melton: Jaycob Hickey, Lachlan Hickey, Billy Crofts, Matt Denham, Ryan Carter, Mitchell Brockwell
BACCHUS MARSH v MELTON SOUTH
Melton South star Paul Bower will challenge a report at an AFL Goldfields tribunal hearing on Wednesday night.
Bower was charged with having used unnecessary roughness in a last quarter incident which left Bacchus Marsh's Matt Chisari with suspected concussion and having to be helped from the ground at Maddingley Park on Saturday.
Bacchus Marsh defeated the Panthers by 117 points.
Melton South coach Heath Pritchard described the performance as the Panthers' worst of the season, saying the way they finished was a "shamozzle".
Prtichard said he expected much more.
He said the Panthers' second and fourth quarters were terrible - "really disappointing."
Bacchus Marsh kicked nine goals in the second stanza and another eight in the last, when all Melton South could muster was two behinds.
Pritchard said the Panthers had shown real determination late in games this season even when they were out of contention.
There was little sign of that on this occasion.
A decisive as the margin was, Bacchus Marsh coach Peter Davey was not getting carried away with the outcome.
He said as well as the Cobras moved the ball, it meant little with their finals chances long gone.
The win was a fitting outcome though as co-captain and premiership player Liam Mullen celebrated his 150th senior appearance.
Melton South finished with just two on interchange after injuries to Jack Mepstead (broken thumb) and Shaun White.
Despite being selected, Port Melbourne VFL-listed Isaace Conway did not play for the Panthers, but is expected line-up against North Ballarat City next round.
Bacchus Marsh 2.7, 11.13, 15.18, 23.24 (162)
Melton South 1.2, 3.6, 6.7, 6.9 (45)
GOALS - Bacchus Marsh: Jake Owen 4, Aaron Willitts 3, Jack Lalor 3, Jack Parente 2, Harrison King 2, Daniel Velden 2,
Daniel Burton 2, Tyson Shea 1, Quade Butt 1, Jack Burgess 1, Ricky Shortis 1, Liam Mullen 1. Melton South: Dylan Conway 4, Samuel Hurst 1, Shaun White 1
BEST - Bacchus Marsh: Daniel Burton, Brodie Easton, Jake Owen, Nicholas Stuhldreier, Tyson Shea, Harrison King. Melton South: Jacob Thornton Gielen, Dale Houghton, Dylan Conway, Paul Bower, William Thornton-Gielen, Billy Sullivan
BALLARAT v NORTH BALLARAT CITY
North Ballarat City finished all over Ballarat to secure a consolation three-point win at Alfredton on Saturday.
After trailing for most of the day, the Swans opened the last term with three goals and with fives minutes to play led by 10 points.
However, with its tall attack dominating North hit back to give Ballarat its third loss of the season by less than a goal.
City coach Shane Skontra swung defenders Ben Simpson and Ryan Hobbs forward - moves which Ballarat coach Joe Carmody acknowledged stretched his backline beyond its limits in a torrid finish.
Skontra likened the win to getting out of jail.
He said each side had had its moments.
Carmody said the Swans' inaccurate scoreline of 11.17 told the story.
"We didn't take enough gettable opportunitie."
He said the failure to convert has kept North Ballarat in the game and the Swans had paid the price.
Carmody said he had again been encouraged by the performance and the experience his players were gaining would help them turn the close losses into wins next season.
Ballarat lost Bailey Fraser (knee) and Shane Pongho (hamstring).
Ryan Luke has also possibly played his last game for the season for North Ballarat City.
Liam Wood from the under-19s made his senior debut for North.
North Ballarat City 5.2, 6.3, 9.5, 13.8 (86)
Ballarat 2.5, 4.8, 7.12, 11.17 (83)
GOALS - North Ballarat City: not supplied. Ballarat: Nicholas O'Farrell 2, Andrew Hooper 2, Bailey Fraser 2, Carter Prendergast 2, Jack Blackburn 2, Daniel Kennedy 1
BEST - North Ballarat City: not supplied. Ballarat: Bailey Van de Heuvel, Sam James, Daniel Kennedy, Marcus Powling, Jed Hill, William Garner