It was heartbreak for Northern Knights against Calder Cannons on Saturday in the TAC Cup.
The match looking to be heading for a draw, before a free kick to Cannons’ Jesse Firebrace in the last 30 seconds of the game gave him the chance to win the game.
He made no mistake and with the siren going before the ball got back to the middle, it gave the Cannons a 7.10 (52)-6.10 (46) win.
For Knights’ coach Justin Wenke the result was even more disappointing knowing they had played some good football in windy conditions.
“The boys put in a great effort,” he said.
“There was a strong breeze favouring one end… It was at least a two to three goal breeze.
“We started well with the breeze and had a reasonable middle period.
“We didn’t take our chances in the third quarter. We didn’t kick straight and didn’t have enough a lead going into the last.
“To the boys credit they played well and to their structures, but we couldn’t hold on.”
Jamison Shea kicked three goals for the Knights, while Nicholas Coffield was named the Knights best.
The Knights sit in seventh spot, six points clear of eighth placed Gippsland Power and the Cannons. If they had have defeated the Cannons, they would have sealed their finals spot.
Having not played finals for a number of years, Wenke said they were keen to ensure their spot in the final three rounds.
“We realised how important that game was,” he said.
“The Cannons want to take our spot. Our season is still alive and in our own destiny. We have to keep winning.
“The players have a strong focus and they believe they deserve to play finals.”
All TAC Cup sides have this weekend off, before three rounds before finals.
Wenke said after a challenging middle part of the season, they would have a full squad to choose from in the run home.
“The middle part of the year we were playing a lot of 17-year-olds and had a high metro representation,” he said,
“We’ve also pushed up a lot of our 19-year-olds to play with Northern Blues and Footscray VFL.
“We found it hard to compete in the middle of the year. The positive to come from that is we gave lots of opportunities to players.
“We should have a full squad now.”
The Knights next match is against Western Jets, who defeated ladder leaders Oakleigh Chargers on the weekend.