CAMPERDOWN bounced back from its first defeat of the season with a 47 point victory over Portland in Hampden league football on Saturday.
The Magpies remain in third position but have re-established an eight point gap between them and South Warrnambool (fourth) courtesy of the 15.14 (104) to 8.9 (57) triumph.
Coach Phil Carse was pleased with his side’s performance against the Tigers and revealed one area had been hampering his side all season.
“I was really happy with our win,” he said.
“We’ve probably been playing good footy throughout the year but struggling forward of centre.”
The Magpies’ forward line functioned well on Saturday, with the side kicking more goals than behinds for only the second time this year.
Camperdown had focussed strongly on improving in their attacking half ahead of the game, while the side’s skill level on Saturday helped ease Carse’s concerns.
He said his side was able to hit the scoreboard hard in the second quarter, as Camperdown opened up the far side of the ground, creating plenty of one-on-one contests inside 50.
This saw the Magpies kick six goals to one in the term to establish a healthy 36 point lead, although the coach added his side did not reward itself in the opening term.
Most of the third quarter was a close affair, as neither side could capitalise on the scoreboard until late in the term.
But it was Portland that did the damage in the final minutes, cutting the margin back to 18 points with a quarter to play.
“It was all square (the quarter) until the 24 minute mark,” Carse said.
“But in the last three minutes they kicked three goals.
“Two of them were from skill errors; our guys were still trying to take the game on and just had bad turnovers.
“It was disappointing to let three through.”
The final term was all Camperdown, as the Magpies were able to finish off a strong performance with another good quarter.
“It opened up a little bit for us, we got a goal in the first minute through Nick Bateman,” Carse said.
“That took the pressure off and then the guys were able to run the game out well.”
Cameron Spence, Brendan Richardson, Nick Bateman, Jason Robinson, Matthew Field and Riley Arnold were the Magpies’ best players, while Jesse Gallichan also played well.
“Cam Spence was really strong throughout the game both inside and out,” Carse said.
“Jesse Gallichan played his best game for the year and really started to hurt the opposition.
“And Jason Robinson got a lot of footy around the ground in a couple of different positions.”
Two other Magpies caught Carse’s eye for their performances, with the pair of players resuming from injury lay-offs.
“Our returning players, Nick Bateman gave us a good target up forward and Brendan Richardson shored us up back,” Carse said.
Bateman finished with six goals and could have had plenty more after kicking five behinds in his first game since round three.
It was Richardson’s first game of the season, after the key defender missed the opening six games with a thumb injury.
He was given the task of shutting down interleague forward Jay Moody, who he restricted to just three goals and a handful of possessions on the weekend.
Richardson’s return was timely for Camperdown, having lost Jack Williams to VFL side Werribee before the clash with Koroit.
The win was the Magpies’ sixth of the season, with the side now third just behind Port Fairy on percentage ahead of their encounter with the Seagulls this weekend.
Carse said this Saturday is a good chance for his side to go “toe to toe” with a side that showed they are not far behind competition pacesetter Koroit on the weekend.
“It’s a huge game for us in terms of our ability to compete with the top sides,” he said.
The reserves recorded their first win of the season, with a strong team performance seeing the side triumph 24.14 (158) to 1.2 (8).
Grant Place was in strong form up forward, finishing with eight goals, while Tim Fitzgerald (four) was best afield.
The under 18.5s were no match for a dominant Portland outfit in the first half but improved in the last two quarters, going down 17.17 (119) to 2.4 (16).
Luke Ball was best on ground and was well supported by Toby Mahony, Toby Kent, Sid Bradshaw, Leigh Ball and Isaac Fowler.
The under 16s were another side to break through for their first win of the season, defeating the Hawks 12.11 (83) to 3.2 (20).
Hamish Sinnott, Hayden Brett, Bailey McDonald, Camo Vagg and Luke Delaney were the side’s best players.
And the under 14s battled bravely against the Hawks but were outclassed in a 13.8 (86) to 0.1 (1) loss.
Isaac Baulch, Jack Hawkes, Darcy Duynhoven, Patrick McGillvray and Rory Mason were the side’s best players.
This weekend, the senior body takes on Port Fairy at Gardens Oval, while the juniors play on Friday night at Cobden, taking on the Bombers.