Tullamarine has cemented its spot inside the Essendon District Football League division 1 top two with a solid win against Craigieburn.
With the teams sitting second and third with four points between them, the game was important in the context of ladder positions.
The Demons looked to control much of the game, but the Eagles responded each time.
The Demons, though, found one last burst and were able to grab a 15.18 (108)-13.14 (92) win.
Demons coach Dave Connell was delighted.
“I guess with where the season is at, it gives us some breathing space in the top two,” he said.
“Over the last month, we’ve been a little bit up and down. We’ve had a few players out of the side.
“Anthony Prestia, Jack Kennedy and Dean Bartrop have been out … and they’re arguably our best three midfielders.
“We had Bartrop back on Saturday, and even getting one back made a difference.
“We still have a lot of improvement.”
Having had to come from behind the previous time the two teams met, it was the Demons who were the front-runners this time – but the Eagles made them fight all the way.
Connell said he really rated the Eagles and that they showed they could be a damaging side.
“A couple of times we got out to three or four goal leads in the second quarter and then again the third quarter,” he said..
“They always had an answer. We always needed one extra goal to break it open.
Credit to them for fighting back.
“With 10 minutes to go, there were a couple of points in it. We were really good when we needed to be.”
Brad Allen kicked three goals for the Demons, while Jordan Port, Steven Vocale and Anthony Franchina kicked two each.
Connell said the midfield group was outstanding all day, while ruckman Mark Maric gave his players first use.
He also praised the job Russell Laurie did on the competition’s leading goal kicker Dean Limbach, who Laurie kept to three goals.
“He was pivotal,” he said. “There was two big one-on-ones in the last fives minutes between them and Laurie won both of them.”
The Demons sit in second, two points behind ladder leader Airport West and with an eight-point gap over Craigieburn.
With first playing fourth and second playing third this week, the Demons could have a two-game break on third with four rounds to go.
In other results, Westmeadows and Jacana were defeated.
The Tigers were left to rue a poor first quarter against Hillside, with the Sharks winning 13.15 (93)-7.12 (54).
Jacana were competitive for periods against Airport West in the battle between the bottom and top side, with the Eagles winning 21.18 (144)-9.2 (56).