James seals deal after the siren
Ballarat 9.11 (65) defeated North Ballarat 9.6 (60)
WITH the final kick of the game, Ballarat have secured a finals position in the McDonald’s Ballarat Football League with a come from behind victory over North Ballarat on Saturday at Alfredton Oval.
Swans captain Sam James was the star of the show in a best on ground performance highlighted by two final quarter goals, the latter being the one to secure Ballarat’s seventh victory of the 2022 season.
In sunny but windy conditions both sides went into Saturday’s contest at pretty much at full strength with the home side missing only Josh Gibson who is still battling injury and Bailey Van De Heuval as a late withdrawal.
The Roosters regained Josh Chatfield from the VFL but lost livewire Sam Glover who was recalled to Collingwood after booting five-goals the previous week.
2019 Tony Lockett Medallist, Andrew Hooper, looked dangerous all afternoon inside forward 50 for the Swans despite copping a corked quad early in the game.
He ended with only the one goal but if he had his kicking boots on the game could have been decided a lot earlier.
The Roosters’ Cam Maccullum has been monstrous in the ruck in 2022, adding 68-hitouts last weekend, and he continued on form, able to find the likes of Fletcher Loader and Riley Polkinghorne in the midfield with regularity to ensure North lead at every change.
Trailing by 14-points going into the final term with a three to four goal breeze at their back, Ballarat were expected to come back with a flurry but North seemed to hold firm in defence with Harry Loader and Ryan Hobbs again the key pillars.
At the 15-mininute mark of the final term, after a controversial free kick, captain Simon MaCartin checksided from the impossible angle and stretched the lead to a game high 21-points which many thought would be enough.
But as the fairytale continues to go for the Swannies this year, they found away with Hooper locking in his radar and James winning a freekick from a stoppage at the 32-minute mark of the last quarter.
Ballarat went onto to snatch victory from the clutches of defeat.
The win for the Swans means they move into second position on the ladder while North have dropped to sixth place and a nervous finish for them await with Sebastopol next week and Darley in the final round could determine who finishes inside the competition’s top six.