Realistically, Altona could not afford to slide any further if it was to stay in the hunt for a double chance in the Western Region Football League division 1.
After a barren month, in which they lost three of their previous four games, the Vikings had a bit of convincing to do to get the football public back on board with their premiership aspirations.
What better way to announce that you are back than with a 70-point win over fellow contenders Spotswood on the road at Donald McLean Reserve on Saturday?
“It was obviously a great result to beat Spotswood at Spotswood who are going really strongly,” Vikings coach Saade Ghazi said.
“We had to win to stay in touch with the top three. The top five are very even, so you can’t afford to drop too many games if you want to finish in that top three, let alone still make the finals.”
This was Altona at its brutal best.
The Vikings punched holes through the league’s best defence, finishing with 18 goals from 31 scoring shots.
They were stingy defensively too, keeping Spotswood to just seven goals and their lowest score of the season.
What is more impressive is the Vikings did it without star forward Patrick Rose, the competition’s leading goalkicker with 47, who was a late withdrawal with tonsillitis.
Also out were key players Luke Goetz (representative football) and Elliot Cavallaro (hamstring), but it did not deter them.
Every Vikings player could look in the mirror and say “job well done”.
“I guess that’s what you get when you have 22 players really contributing, playing well and playing their role,” Ghazi said.
Mitch Turnbull relished the chance to play deep inside forward 50. Kicking five goals, Turnbull effectively replaced the goals Altona missed through Rose’s absence.
Josh Rafferty was a huge presence in the ruck, locking horns in a fierce battle with Spotswood skipper Murray Boyd.
Lee Spiteri’s role on Woodsmen star onballer Tom Langlands was important, limiting the carnage the veteran has the potential to wreak.
Josh MacDonald was dangerous in attack for Altona with four goals, including two crucial goals into the wind.
The top five teams, including Altona and Spotswood, all have eight wins to their name.
It only increases the importance of Altona’s home clash with Sunshine and Spotswood’s trip to Deer Park this Saturday.