Tullamarine digs deep for a gutsy win

Tullamarine's Anthony Prestia. Picture Shawn Smits.

By Tara Murray

Tullamarine has put in a gutsy performance to hand East Keilor its second straight loss in Essendon District Football League division 1.

The Demons looked in trouble midway through the third quarter when they found themselves three goals down.

But not for the first time in recent years, they turned it on for a period of the game.

This time they dominated the rest of the third quarter and the last quarter to record a 19.13 (127)-13.7 (85) win.

Demons coach David Connell said he thought they were in trouble when they trailed late in the third quarter.

“It was a match the boys have been looking forward to,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of hype around East Keilor and the group was looking forward to challenging themselves.

“We were three and half goals down in the third and then kicked 11 of the next 12, or something like that.

“Once we were able to wrestle momentum back, we were good.

“The side showed a lot of heart and that is something that we are proud of.”

While several players stood up late in the game for the Demons, there was one who especially pleased Connell.

The move of Anthony Prestia into the forward line was a match-winner.

“He turned the game – kicked six goals in 25 minutes of footy,” Connell said.

“We were looking for someone to step up and the rest of the group followed him.

“We think he’s an outstanding player. He cops the tag most weeks and he had to adjust to his game.

“We pushed him forward and you were able to have an impact in another way.”

Adam Scott and Anthony Liberatore were other four-quarter performers, while Will Becker and Oliver Klemm came into the side and made an impact.

The win moves the Demons to 5-1, including a close loss to Westmeadows.

Tullamarine is in second place, behind on Craigieburn on percentage.

Connell said it was a credit to the players that the team was in second place at this time of the year.

“It’s very different to last year when we were 6-0,” he said.

“Last year, we played some really great footy in the first seven or eight weeks.

“This year we’ve had a lot of injuries and haven’t played our best football.

“Hopefully, this year is the reverse and we can hit form at the other end of the season.

“Hopefully, we can get the full list back and clicking. We will be much improved.”

Tullamarine will this week face Hillside before the Queen’s Birthday weekend bye.

Connell said they were hopeful about having some of their injured players return in coming weeks. He said they were missing six or seven from their best side.

“We can’t get the group of guys together all on the park.” He said.

“We had six changes this week. We had three or four back, but had lost three or four.”

In other results, Westmeadows lost to Hillside 13.8 (86)- 12.12 (84).

Craigieburn had a strong 22.18 (150)-14.8 (92) win against Oak Park.

In premier division, Greenvale beat Airport West 26.17 (173)-10.7 (67).

In division 2, Jacana forfeited for the second time in three weeks.