Burnside Heights had let victory slip away twice this season, but on Saturday it wasn’t going to let it happen a third time.
Despite just one win so far in the Essendon District Football League division 2 season, the Bears have been one of the big improvers.
On Saturday, they showed that teams can’t just turn up against them anymore. They were better than Roxburgh Park early and led by five goals in the first half.
The Magpies, last year’s grand finalists, responded and took the lead several times in the third quarter. When they hit the front in the fourth quarter again, it looked like a case of how far for the Magpies.
But the Bears weren’t to be denied and they responded with the last five goals of the game to win 15.12 (102)-12.8 (80).
For Bears coach Aidan Stott it doesn’t come much better than beating a team in contention for the finals.
The club’s only other wins have come against East Sunbury and Keilor Park, when both sides have been struggling.
Stott said they made mention at three-quarter time of the two previous situations, where they had lost games they should have won.
“We probably should have beaten East Sunbury twice,” he said. “The first time we lost after the siren and last game we led in the final quarter.
“We spoke about that at three-quarter time, about how that felt losing those games. I think they didn’t want to feel that again. Roxburgh Park really challenged us and we responded.”
The majority of the Bears side that played on Saturday was aged 22 or under. Five players were 18-year-olds.
Stott said it was in the midfield where the game was set up. He said Stephen Kenrick, Marcus Giuliano and Corey Patmore were the standouts.
Stott said they were starting to get a good feeling around the club with the results that the side was starting to have.
“We’re working hard to build a supporter base and their support is really starting to help the boys,” he said.
“The little juniors are starting to pretend they are players like Josh Covelli and Anthony Fawcus at half-time of games. Along with the others we are really starting to build a positive unit. If the group sticks together there’s a bright future.
“We’re improving week by week.”
The Bears will take confidence into their game against ladder leaders Coburg Districts on Saturday.
Last time the two teams met, the Bears took it up to the Lions for three quarters.
In division 1, Hillside won a thriller against Airport West.
The Sharks came back from 22 points down at half-time to win, 14.17 (101)-15.10 (100).
Brandon Coletta kicked five goals in the win.