LEETON-Whitton breathed life into the Riverina League premiership race with a 19-point victory over Collingullie-Glenfield Park at Crossroads Oval on Saturday.
The Crows proved their best football is good enough and inflicted Collingullie-Glenfield Park their first loss of the season, running out winners 8.9 (57) to 5.8 (38).
The Demons were out to celebrate the playing career of club champion Brad Aiken in his 400th game but Leeton-Whitton crashed the party.
The Crows were on top for the majority of the day but it took until the final quarter for them to deliver the knockout blow.
Collingullie-Glenfield Park, on back of their best quarter of football for the day, led by two points going into the final term but did not fire a shot from there onwards.
The Crows came out breathing and kicked three goals within the first eight minutes of the last quarter to gain back to ascendancy, and ultimately put the contest to bed.
Leeton-Whitton coach Jade Hodge was thrilled to see the Crows show what he knows they are capable of.
“It’s fantastic, I knew we could come over here and do it,” Hodge said.
“I was pretty disappointed when we played them at home last time, just our intent. I knew if we could apply that pressure around the ball, which we bought for the majority of the game, and be smart about it...I knew we could do it and do it pretty well.
“It’s a really good win, and I suppose gives us that bit of belief moving forward as well.
“We stuck to our structures and played the footy we want to, and it just goes to show, when everyone knows what they are doing and we stick to our structures and play as a team, the sky’s the limit.”
In terms of what it means for the Crows’ season, Hodge says it gives his team further belief. He also knows it is another huge step towards locking in a top three finish, and a second chance.
“It sets us up and holds us in really good stead to secure that top three position,” Hodge said.
“We’ve obviously got another really tough game next week against Mango, but if we can do that, get another win, it will hold us in there for that second chance.
“The belief in this group is sky high, we’ve just got to get that consistency. I still rate (Collingullie), well they are, they’ve proven that they’re the best, so it just goes to show it’s a pretty even competition and anyone on their day, if they’re up and about, can secure a win. It gives us a lot belief going forward.”
Collingullie-Glenfield Park captain-coach Luke Gestier was disappointed with the way his team responded to the Crows’ challenge.
“Definitely. They came to play and we didn’t. We realised that, and we spoke about it, but we didn’t throw it back at them,” Gestier said.
“That’s probably the most disappointing thing from my behalf is that we just kind of choked a little bit, in terms of the pressure.”
The Crows had winners all over the ground, but Bryce O’Garey was a standout. Ben Curley, Toby Conroy, Will Wakeman, Liam Greenwell, Luke Potter and Isaac Houghton all played instrumental roles in the win.
Brad Aiken, in his 400th game, was the Demons’ most dangerous forward and finished with three goals, while Lachie Moore was best for the losing team.