CAMPERDOWN turned around its recent form slump in its round 16 Hampden league senior football clash with Portland on Saturday.
The Magpies returned to the winners’ list for the first time in almost a month, ending a run of three consecutive defeats with an 11.12 (78) to 3.7 (25) victory.
Camperdown kicked the opening three goals through Jacob Mahony, Phil Carse and Eddie Lucas against the Tigers on Saturday, before Portland hit back with three of their own late to even the contest at quarter time.
The Magpies had the majority of the play in the first half of the second term but were unable to add to their score as Portland’s defence held strong.
That soon changed for the visitors as Mahony added his second, Nick Bateman kicked his first and Riley Arnold converted a snap as Camperdown kicked three late goals to open up a 20 point lead at half-time.
The Magpies were quick to get proceedings under way in the second half, with a goal to Charlie Lucas inside the opening minutes pushing their lead out to 26 points.
They continued to increase the margin as the quarter progressed, with three more goals to Bateman, Carse and Eddie Lucas extending the lead to 43 points at the final change.
Camperdown again had the majority of the play in the final term but could only manage the one goal, with Eddie Lucas kicking his third to help the Magpies to a 53 point victory.
Post-match, Carse was rapt with the response of his players after defeats to Hamilton, South Warrnambool and Koroit in their previous three games.
“I was pleased with how the boys responded on a tough road trip to Portland,” he said.
“It was really important for us to get back on the winners’ list for our own confidence and to get momentum heading into the finals.”
Carse said the side’s defensive effort set the tone for the Magpies’ victory.
He said his back six held strongly in the final three quarters, limiting the Tigers to just three behinds.
“Our defensive group worked really well,” he said.
“We leaked three goals in the last 10 minutes of the first quarter but didn’t concede one after that.”
Also important in Camperdown’s win was the return of Jacob Mahony (foot) and Cameron Spence (jaw) from injury.
The pair had not played since round eight against Port Fairy, with Carse pleased to welcome both back into the side.
He was particularly impressed with Mahony (two goals), who he said combined well with Eddie Lucas (three) and Nick Bateman (two) as key forwards in the win.
“It was great to get Jacob Mahony and Cameron Spence back after long injury lay-offs,” Carse said.
“They both gave us options inside 50.”
Carse said Jason Robinson and Jack Williams were his side’s best players, with the pair controlling the game from the back line, while Eddie Lucas was pivotal in the attacking half.
“Jason Robinson and Jack Williams were really good off half back,” Carse said.
“And Eddie Lucas was good in the forward third.”
The victory was the Magpies’ tenth of the season and kept alive their top three hopes, with Camperdown still four points clear in third with two games to play.
The Magpies take on arch rival Cobden this weekend, with their top three hopes still in the balance.
Carse knows it’s “important” for his side to win to keep a hold of that top three spot, but he also wants his players to finish the season strongly.
“We just need to keep trying to build some momentum,” he said.
In the other matches, Camperdown’s reserves recorded an 11.13 (79) to 1.5 (11) win.
The Magpies kept the Tigers goalless in the first three quarters of the match while adding 10 of their own as they cruised to their fifth win of the year.
Dave Young was named best afield for the side, while Tom Place, Luke Clarke, Jeremy Lucas, Ben Reid and Jake Clissold also played key roles.
And the under 18.5s were competitive early but fell away late in a 5.9 (39) to 3.5 (23) defeat.
Both sides kicked two goals in the opening term, before Portland moved ahead in the second quarter.
Neither side managed a goal in the third term, before the Tigers kicked one in the last to secure victory.
Luke Ball was best on ground for Camperdown alongside Josh Bone, Toby White, Zavier Mungean, Angus Gordon and Zach Sinnott.