CAMPERDOWN rallied late against a gallant Hamilton side desperate for its first victory of 2018 on Saturday night.
Trailing by five points at three quarter time, Phil Carse’s side managed to find a way to overrun the Kangaroos in the final term of its 10.15 (75) to 10.11 (71) victory.
Carse was pleased to get a fourth straight win to open the season and said it took his side until late in the game to “get on top”.
“It was a really heavily contested game and it was pretty dewy which made it like a wet weather game,” he said.
“But full credit to Hamilton, they pressured us really well and had a heap of intensity (through the first three quarters).
“In the last 15 to 20 minutes we were able to rally and get on top.”
Both sides failed to capitalise on opportunities to seize the momentum across the game.
Camperdown kicked the first goal of the night and had ample opportunity to build a lead, but their early season woes in front of goal continued.
Hamilton started to work its way into the match at the 15 minute mark of the first term, and quickly made an impact on the scoreboard.
They kicked the last three goals of the quarter to establish a three point lead at the first break.
Both teams scored three goals apiece in the second term as the game continued to be highly contested, as Hamilton retained its five point lead at half-time.
Camperdown regained the lead in the first minute of the second half, before the two sides traded goals for the next 20 minutes of play.
The Magpies held a one point lead nearing three quarter time, but a free kick in the middle of the ground allowed the Kangaroos back on goal.
They scored through Josh Pepper to reinstate a five point lead with one quarter to play.
Carse said Hamilton was leading the Magpies in key areas of the game through the first three quarters.
He identified the Roos’ contested ball numbers and ability to clear the area with intensity as problems Camperdown needed to address.
“They were on top in the clinches and were able to force it forward quickly,” he said.
“They had a lot of energy and enthusiasm in front of a big crowd.”
Carse urged his side to find another level at the three quarter time huddle but it was Hamilton who landed the first blow of the final term.
They kicked a goal five minutes into the quarter to push their margin out to 11 points and had looked like they were about to run over the top of the Magpies.
However, Camperdown responded five minutes later, with a goal from a stoppage before Sam Cunnington converted a set shot to put his side ahead.
“In the last quarter we managed to get on top in the contested area at both the stoppages and across half back winning one on ones,” Carse said.
“Our half backs were then able to get the ball into dangerous positions inside 50, which was the turning point for us.”
They continued to have most of the play but could not add it to the scoreboard as the margin grew to five points in Camperdown’s favour.
Hamilton made a late charge and entered their forward 50 looking to hit their two key forwards Darcy Russell and Hugh Douglas.
But the Magpies defence held strong as the ball was kicked deep to the goal line, ensuring their lead was kept intact.
Camperdown had the ball in their half for most of the final minutes, before a free kick was awarded to Cunnington inside 50 in the dying seconds.
The siren sounded as he walked back to have his shot on goal, with his kick narrowly missing and handing the Magpies a close triumph.
Carse was pleased with the response of his players when their “backs were against the wall” and praised his half backs and some of his younger players for their games.
“Our three half backs, Jack Williams, Fraser Lucas and Luke O’Neil all gave us plenty, especially in the last quarter,” he said.
“Isaac Stephens down in the forward line was a real spark and presence for us.
“And Charlie Lucas was also good across the day.”
The Magpies take on South Warrnambool, in what Carse said would be a real test for his side ahead of the interleague bye.
“There’s no doubt their one of the best sides in the competition and they’ve shown that last year and in the early rounds this year,” he said.
“They have a really strong midfield and some up and coming key position players.
“But we need to be at our best, we have to match it with them on the inside but also outwork them with our run and carry on the outside.”