Werribee Districts have ice in their veins in the tight finishes in the Western Region Football League division 1.
The Tigers improved to 3-0 in games decided by a goal or less after coming back from six goals down to beat Spotswood by six points at Soldiers Reserve on Saturday.
Winning the close ones has been crucial for the Tigers because of how close the top six teams are in the league.
Only one win separates second to sixth in the standings, with the Tigers sitting third.
Significantly, all three of Werribee Districts’ nail-biting wins have come against high quality opposition in ‘eight-point games’ – two against second-placed Spotswood and one against ladder-leader Altona.
Tigers coach Chris Gilham believes it could be the difference between his side getting a double chance in the finals or not.
“In any competition, if you reverse the close games, it just paints a different picture,” he said.
“We’ve been lucky enough to win a few of our close ones this year, which keeps us in the top three hunt.”
Not only have those nail-biting wins improved Werribee Districts’ chances of a top-four finish, it also shows that its best is good enough to beat any side in the competition.
Altona and Spotswood have been two of the more hyped clubs, but the Tigers have a 3-1 record against the top two and would fancy their chances in a one-off final.
Gilham is particularly pleased to finally get over the Spotswood hoodoo.
“Spotswood’s had the wood over us,” Gilham said. “They won six or seven in a row against us.
“To beat them twice, home and away, it’s really good for our confidence.
“It just shows that our best footy is good enough.”
Werribee Districts were a long way down on the scoreboard in the first half against Spotswood on Saturday, but had not given up hope in the game.
The Tigers trailed by 36 points early in the second quarter, but Gilham could see some positive signs.
“I thought we were doing enough right not to give it up,” he said.
Werribee Districts took control of the game in the third quarter on the back of a five-goal quarter from Nick Buykx.
The Tigers dominance began at the coal face with Bailey Siwek, Dillon Viojo-Rainbow and Trent Lee throwing their bodies on the line.
A key coaching move made a difference with Gilham putting Ben McMahon in the ruck and moving Will Sullivan forward with his brother Caleb, who had been playing at centre half-back.
It stopped Spotswood dictating the terms and gave Werribee Districts a target to either mark or bring the ball to ground, where Buykx did his best work. He finished with six goals.
Werribee Districts will visit Deer Park on Saturday, the only top-five side they have not beaten this season.
Meanwhile, Hoppers Crossing has launched its run to the finals with a 34-point win over Deer Park on home soil. Point Cook was no match for Altona, going down by 174 points.
In division 2, Nathan Bisset kicked six goals in Wyndhamvale’s 116-point belting of West Footscray.
In division 3, Wyndham Suns pulled off an upset 15-point win over in-form Sunshine Heights on the road.
Dillon Hinge bagged six goals in Glen Orden’s nail-biting eight-point win over Tarneit.
The Hawks remain half a game clear on top of the ladder, while Tarneit still has some work to do to secure a top four berth.
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