MANGOPLAH-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes showcased their premiership credentials with a 13-point win over Collingullie-Glenfield Park on Saturday.
Jordan Foster bagged seven goals in a sensational display as the Goannas kept their minor premiership chances alive, winning 13.8 (86) to 11.7 (73) at Mangoplah Sportsground.
The win puts the Goannas level on points with the Demons, but still trailing on percentage, with two rounds remaining.
Top spot aside, MCUE showed it is a legitimate premiership contender with an at-times clinical display.
The Goannas weathered the early storm and went from 11 points down to a 13-point quarter time lead in the space of seven minutes, courtesy of five first-quarter goals from Foster.
MCUE got right on top in the second and third terms, stretching the margin to 27 points at the final change, before the Demons staged a fightback.
On the back of a herculean last term from Jayden Klemke, Collingullie-GP got back within eight points before a Pat Killalea goal sealed the Goannas’ victory.
MCUE coach Travis Cohalan loved the spirit his team showed to roll the ladder leaders.
“The boys’ endeavour and will to win was evident for all to see today,” Cohalan said.
“I’m really happy with the way they went about it, and the way they dug in for the fight against the best team in the competition. For the boys to dig in and get the result was really pleasing.”
The win will only help MCUE’s confidence heading into the finals series, but for Cohalan it only reinforced what he already knew.
“I think it will definitely help but without sounding arrogant, I’m very confident that our best football, when we produce it, is good enough to beat any team,” he said.
“It is positive to know we can beat them, but we were always pretty confident that we would be able to beat their best anyway.”
The minor premiership was of no interest to MCUE in the lead up to Saturday’s top of the table clash, and it virtually remains that way.
“We’ll just concentrate on winning our next two...but we’ll let the other results take care of themselves and if it happens, it happens,” he said.
Foster inspired the big win, but he had plenty of helpers. Nathan Byrne went to full-back late in the first term and managed to do the job on Marc Geppert, who had started strongly.
Harry Collins, Ryan Price and Tom Keogh were all good through the middle, while teenager George Kendall showed great signs in the first half.
For Collingullie-GP, they were rocked early by the late withdrawals of Brad Aiken and Chris Jackson, while coach Luke Gestier only played the first five minutes before succumbing to an eye injury.
Steve Jolliffe and Klemke were dangerous throughout the day, while Lachie Moore and Tom Keogh both had big games.