LANGWARRIN lost its second game on the trot by less than a kick after it went down to Mornington by one point on Saturday.
Leading by eight points at half time and seven points at three quarter time, the Kangas gave up the lead in the last quarter before regaining it midway through the term.
Both the Dogs and Kangas traded goals at the close of the quarter before Mornington full back Adam Symes was sent forward and became the difference between the sides.
The Dogs won 11.7 (73) to 11.6 (72).
Langwarrin coach Gavin Artico said that Symes took a couple of telling marks and kicked a goal in the last quarter. He said it was definitely one of the key reasons Mornington was able to get the points.
“We gave Symes best on ground for Mornington. He was good in defence and was a key for them in the last when he was moved forward,” Artico said.
“Mornington was also a bit cleaner coming out of the stoppages, which when you boil it down, was the significant difference between the sides.”
Artico said that he couldn’t have been happier with the team’s effort.
“Both sides played some cracking footy and I thought it was a really even contest.
“We lost the game I know and by a point is a bitter pill to swallow but it was much easier to handle knowing we gave it everything.
“At a minimum 95 per cent of the team had an impact on the game. As a coach, you can’t ask for more than that.”
Artico did concede though that the team’s inconsistency had put them in a tough position.
“Other than Mt Eliza, which kicked away from us in junk time, we have been right in games. We had Edithvale covered before we allowed them back in and drew. Last week we had Chelsea where we wanted them before some discipline issues cost us. We had our chances in Saturday’s game.
“We win those three tight ones and we’re in third place and almost assured of a finals place.
“What we do know is that we are right in the mix. We improve our consistency, get the little things right, improve our ability to grasp what we’re trying to do and get our best players on the park and I’m confident we can cause some damage,” Artico said.
Rikki Johnston was Langwarrin’s best player. He is playing the best football of his career, according to Artico.
“I have had the fortune of watching Rikki for a lot of years now and I have no problems saying he’s in career-best form.
“I also had the privilege of playing alongside one of the best I’ve seen in Brendan Long. I think Rikki has him covered,” Artico said.
Pines took a major step in its development this season, beating the previously undefeated Mt Eliza by seven points.
Pines overcame a 22 point quarter time deficit to boot 13 of the next 18 goals and go in at three quarter time with a 20 point break.
Mt Eliza came home hard in the last but the Pythons managed to hang-on to a 17.12 (114) to 15.17 (107) victory.
Pines’ coach Pat Swayne said despite trailing at quarter time and being held goalless, his team did miss three goals from set shots and “were right in the contest”.
“I thought we went toe to toe with them in the first quarter despite being four goals to none,” Swayne said.
“After quarter time, we kicked 17.6 to 11.13, so we were able to turn it around.”
Pines’ ability to win the game despite being two rotations down for most of the second half was a super performance.
“We played Adam Maling on Scott Lockwood and Adam was struggling with an ankle – we just had to keep him out there.
“Corey Ash has been good for us in the backline this year too and he had a bout of gastro. He had it before the game but we played him and really shouldn’t have.
“And Paul McLean-Wilson popped a calf or Achilles, so we didn’t have him either.”
Aaron Edwards played as a high half forward and through the middle and booted five goals. He was the best player on the ground.
Billy Humphries, a gifted teenager and outstanding junior, didn’t do a pre-season but came into the side and played a midfield role. Billy too was superb.
“We talked about the loss of Jimmy Messina (out for the season with a knee) and how important he is to us and Billy was able to come in and play that role for us. His fitness base is up now and I have no doubt he’ll improve as the season develops,” Swayne said.
Justin Van Unen kicked seven goals for the Redlegs. He has 53 goals from eight games at an average of 6.62 per game.
“He’s like a cat at ground level. I remember Jason ‘Super’ Marsh at Seaford, who, despite being a sensational mark, would recover quicker than any backman at ground level.
“JV is the same – he’s a super player.”
In other games, Chelsea coach Brent Guerra booted seven goals in Chelsea’s 23.18 (156) to 6.6 (42) win against Karingal.
David Bodley and Anthony Bruhn kicked five goals each and Craig Nankervis and Scott Macleod dominated as Frankston YCW belted Bonbeach 21.13 (139) to 4.8 (32).
Edithvale-Aspendale beat Seaford 20.18 (138) to 12.13 (85) with Jarrod Garth booting six goals and Matt Meehan five while Timmy Mannix was at his brilliant best.