TAC Cup Round 15 was full of thrilling results, including the bottom-placed Western Jets toppling the ladder-leading Oakleigh Chargers by six points.
The Chargers (now 2nd, 12-3) looked to be on their way to a 10th straight win when they went nine points ahead six minutes into the last quarter at Burbank Oval, but Western (now 11th, 4-11) wasn’t done with. Blake Graham and then Toby Kopa slotted majors to help the Jets snatch the lead before they held onto it for eight tense minutes until the final siren.
Cameron Rayner was instrumental in recording team-highs for disposals (23), tackles (11), clearances (eight), inside-50s (eight) and goals (two) for the victors, while his captain Luke Hitch was also important with 18 disposals, seven tackles and seven inside-50s.
In another six-point thriller, Jesse Firebrace nailed a set-shot goal just before the final siren (see below) to help the Calder Cannons (9th, 5-10) sink the Northern Knights (7th, 6-8-1) at Preston City Oval.
Firebrace also kicked the behind that levelled the scores in a low-scoring contest shortly before, while bottom-agers Jack Bytel (24 disposals, two goals), Lucas Cavallaro (13 disposals) and Ismail Moussa were all named among Calder’s best players in the victory.
The GWV Rebels (10th, 4-10-1) joined the Cannons in the race for eighth position with a fast-finishing six-point triumph over the Murray Bushrangers (3rd, 10-5) at Ikon Park.
The Rebels trailed by 43 points at the last change but produced eight goals to Murray’s solitary behind in the final quarter. Aiden Domic topped a complete performance (28 disposals, seven inside-50s, four goals) with GWV’s first three majors of the last term and Keegan Gray added two of his own, before Jordan Johnston scored the goal to put the Rebels in front for good with three minutes to play.
In the fourth Round 15 thriller, the Eastern Ranges (6th, 8-7) held off the Sandringham Dragons (4th, 10-5) by seven points at Box Hill City Oval.
The Ranges broke open a slog that was tied at half time with only three goals apiece on the scoreboard to lead by 15 points midway through the last term. With Harrison Nolan steady in defence and Jaidyn Stephenson (39 disposals, nine inside-50s) dynamic, Eastern was then able to fight off Sandringham’s late challenge.
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The Geelong Falcons (1st, 12-3) celebrated becoming the first club to play 500 TAC Cup games by reclaiming top spot on the ladder with a 64-point defeat of the Gippsland Power (8th, 5-10) at Morwell Recreation Reserve. The Falcons restricted the Power to just one goal in the first half, as Gryan Miers starred with six goals for the match and Sam Walsh (37 disposals, 10 clearances) won the ball at will.
Also in Round 15, the Dandenong Stingrays (5th, 10-5) accounted for the Bendigo Pioneers (12th, 3-12) by 89 points at Shepley Oval, with Riley D’Arcy’s four goals and Hunter Clark’s 32 disposals proving important in the win.
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