The Gippsland Power snapped the Dandenong Stingrays’ six-game winning streak in thrilling fashion during TAC Cup Round 14.
In holding off the fast-finishing Stingrays (5th, 9-5) by two points, the Power (8th, 5-9) went one win clear inside the top eight.
Trailing by just 10 points and kicking with the breeze at Frankston Oval in the last quarter, Dandenong was unable to overcome a gutsy Gippsland outfit that saw its 16-point lead whittled away in the final tense minutes. Over-ager Sean Masterson was among the Power’s best players in defence, while 16-year-olds Caleb Serong (three goals), Sam Flanders (three) and Brock Smith were all influential in the victory.
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Earlier at Frankston Oval, a 30-point win by the Sandringham Dragons (4th, 10-4) against the Western Jets (12th, 3-11) ensured they would move one game and percentage clear of the Stingrays inside the top four.
The Dragons steamed to victory by booting six goals to one in a big final term after trailing the Jets by five points at the last change. Will Walker kicked the last three of those majors for Sandringham, while teammate Aaron Trusler bagged four for the match and Bailey Smith recorded 44 disposals, 13 inside-50s and 10 clearances.
Meanwhile, the Oakleigh Chargers (1st, 12-2) notched their ninth straight win in defeating the Calder Cannons (9th, 4-10) by 33 points at Warrawee Park.
Oakleigh’s effort to restrict Calder to just 1.4 (10) in the first half helped the Chargers establish a defining 28-point lead by the long break. For the victors, Toby Wooller kicked four goals, Isaac Quaynor (19 disposals, five rebound-50s) was stout in defence and Sam Harte (34 disposals, 10 tackles) was prolific.
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The Eastern Ranges (6th, 7-7) leapfrogged the Northern Knights (7th, 6-7-1) on the ladder with a nine-point triumph in the teams’ clash at Box Hill City Oval.
A four-goal-to-two second quarter saw the Ranges create a 13-point buffer at half time and they then held the Knights at arm’s length until the final siren. Cody Hirst was Eastern’s only multiple goalkicker with four majors from his 19 disposals, while Ryley Stoddart and Harrison Nolan both stood up for the Ranges in defence.
The Murray Bushrangers (3rd, 10-4) booted the highest score in the TAC Cup this year – 23.18 (156) – in accounting for the Bendigo Pioneers (11th, 3-11) by 82 points at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
The Bushrangers actually trailed by six points at quarter time before piling on 21 goals in the next three terms. TAC Cup goalkicking leader Daniel Johnston was Murray’s headline act inside 50 with eight goals, three behinds and two score assists, but Joe Richards (five majors) and Jordon Butts (three) were among the others to join the party.
Finally in Round 14, the Geelong Falcons (2nd, 11-3) prevailed over the GWV Rebels (10th, 3-10-1) to the tune of 56 points at Mars Stadium.
The Falcons accelerated with 12 goals to four after an even opening quarter, with co-captain Cooper Stephens named their best player for his 24 disposals, six inside-50s and five rebound-50s.
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