A DOMINANT final term saw Camperdown claim a gutsy Hampden league senior football qualifying final victory over Port Fairy at Cobden on Saturday.
The Magpies kicked six goals and restricted the Seagulls to five behinds in the final term to secure a 13.10 (88) to 6.12 (48) victory, setting up a second semi-final clash with Koroit.
Senior coach Phil Carse was thrilled with the performance of his players, and said it took a determined effort to win.
He said his side battled hard across the first three quarters before finishing with a flurry of goals after they found a way to break open the Seagulls’ defence.
“It was a real contested game across the first three quarters,” he said.
“A bit of wind and rain made it difficult with skills, but the boys kept threatening to break away.
“But to Port Fairy’s credit they kept reeling us in, but in the last quarter we found a way to break the game up and get the ball on the outside.”
Carse acknowledged the win was Camperdown’s first in a final since 2006, but said his side was aiming to achieve bigger things this season.
“It was fantastic for us to end a 12 year drought in the finals,” he said.
“But we don’t want to finish there; we want to keep making it a journey in September.”
Camperdown kicked the opening goal through Luke Mahony before the Seagulls responded with two goals of their own through Dan Nicholson and Sandy Robinson.
Riley Arnold missed an opportunity to reply for the Magpies, failing to convert a simple set shot, before Nick Bateman kicked his first of the afternoon to hand his side a one point quarter time lead.
Camperdown struck first 10 minutes into the second term with a 50 metre penalty resulting in a goal to Fraser Lucas but Port Fairy replied a minute later with a major through Dylan Gunning.
Charlie Lucas kicked truly shortly after to push the lead back out to seven points, before a Luke Mahony check side gave Camperdown a 13 point advantage.
However, two late goals to Port Fairy through Lachlan Glare and Kaine Mercovich reduced the margin to single figures as Camperdown entered half-time with a two point buffer.
Neither side managed to add a goal in the opening eight minutes of the third term before Riley Arnold extended Camperdown’s lead after he kicked truly from a 50 metre penalty.
The match entered a stalemate for the next ten minutes before Port Fairy again cut the deficit, this time to four points after Nicholson added his second goal.
Two behinds to the Seagulls followed and again closed Camperdown’s advantage to two before Bateman pushed the lead back out to eight points after he kicked his second minutes later.
A late Port Fairy behind saw the Magpies lead by seven at the final change, with Carse urging his players to dig deep in the last 30 minutes.
The Seagulls threatened early in the final term and kicked two points in the first five minutes, before Jacob Mahony put the Magpies 11 points ahead at the six minute mark.
Port Fairy again missed another opportunity, with Camperdown quick to punish them as Charlie Lucas converted a free kick from 10 metres out, extending their lead to 17 points.
Luke Mahony added his third goal three minutes later pushing the margin out to 23 points before a behind to Matt Field saw the Magpies miss a chance to seal victory.
It mattered little though, after a banana from Eddie Lucas subsequently sailed through to put Camperdown 30 points up and ensured the Magpies were home.
The Seagulls added another two points before Mitch Danahay converted two late goals for Camperdown to push the final margin out to 40 points.
Despite the game being close all day, Carse said he felt the contest was played on his side’s terms, but admitted they had missed opportunities throughout the match.
He said part of that may have been to do with the bigger stage of finals football, which added nervous energy and anxiety to his group.
“I did feel like we had the ascendency (throughout the match),” he said.
“But in some respects we were our own worst enemy at times with skill errors and missing some easy shots on goal.”
However, he was rapt his side was able to lift its output when the game was on the line.
“It certainly meant a lot to the boys with their last quarter performance,” Carse said.
“They were able to find another gear.”
Carse praised the performances of several players on the weekend, but said it was a collective effort that got his side over the line.
“Jason Robinson and Jack Williams were exceptional from half back,” he said.
“Our wingers Charlie Lucas and Matt Field played really well and held their length across the ground.
“Luke Mahony was also good up forward, but it was a game where all 21 played their role.”
Camperdown will have seven days to recover before taking on Koroit at Portland’s Hanlon Reserve this Saturday.