St Albans has ended a barren run of seven weeks without a win, outlasting Albion by 17 points in Western Region Football League division 1 at Kings Park Reserve on Saturday.
Rather oddly, the Saints had been starting to run into some good form despite not having sung the club song since the first week of June.
A breakthrough could be sensed after strong performances against top two sides Deer Park and Spotswood in the past fortnight.
Saints football manager Ian Dos Santos lauded the four-quarter performance that delivered victory over Albion.
St Albans’ third win of the season was an important one, as it all but ensures its top-flight position is secure for next season.
This will go down as a year to forget for the Saints, which coach Fab Carelli acknowledged as such in announcing last week he would step down at season’s end.
But Carelli has won praise for his overall impact on the Saints.
“We’ve got a bit more professionalism around the club since he’s been around – he’s taken it up a notch,” Dos Santos said.
“He’s definitely helped our younger players develop further.
“He’s going to be missed. He’s very knowledgeable about the game.”
Carelli’s legacy will be seen in the coming seasons. He has not been afraid to give opportunities to young players, some of whom have thrived.
“We’ve changed our line-up quite significantly, playing a lot of under-17s and 19s players,” Dos Santos said. “Those guys have had a bit more experience and they’re gelling a bit more now with our senior guys.”
The Saints have endured a frustrating season with injury – particularly a broken collarbone sustained by ruckman Jarrod Tuppen.
“He broke it in one of our first practice matches,” Dos Santos said.
“It’s no coincidence that since he’s been back, we’re playing better footy.”
Tuppen played a significant role in St Albans’ latest win.
So did small forward-midfielder Tim Jenkins, who snared five goals in a best-on-ground display. It was just a continuation of another stellar season for Jenkins.
“He’s a special type of player,” Dos Santos said.
Jayden Manning and Matt Quigley were superb off the half-back flank for St Albans. Leigh Brennan led confidently across half-forward, finishing with a goal and having a hand in others.
St Albans will be looking to string together consecutive wins for the first time this
season when it travels to Wyndhamvale on Saturday.
Elsewhere in division 1, Deer Park bolted to the minor premiership with a 56-point win over Wyndhamvale.
Sunshine Kangaroos moved a step closer to a double chance with a 55-point win over Caroline Springs.
In division 2, Albanvale was no match for ladder leader North Footscray, going down by 75 points.
The Cobras will face Newport Power in a fourth-versus-fifth showdown at Bryan Martyn Oval on Saturday in a game that will have a massive bearing on which side claims the fourth-place finals berth.
In division 3, North Sunshine capped its 50th anniversary celebrations with a 98-point win over Braybrook at Dempster Park.
Justin Hill, Zakaria Farah (five goals) and Troy Smith (four) starred on a great day for the Roadrunners.
Sunshine Heights suffered a 100-point loss to Parkside, which saw its spearhead Jason Cloke notch his 100th goal of the season.