WHEN The Saints Come Marching In was sung loud and proud on Saturday as the senior Heathcote football team tasted victory for the first time in season 2019.
It was not a game for the purists but for Saints it was a great way to finish a successful day against Huntly as the reserves also won — their second in a row.
Realising this was a must win game, the senior team came out and blazed away in almost frenetic fashion.
The result was the Saints bombarded the goals without any system and it showed on the scoreboard, which read 1.11 at half time.
Huntly only trailed by one point at the main break, but everyone could see how dominant the Saints were.
Dylan Robinson was brilliant, using his strength and experience to give his team first use of the ball in the centre and around the ground.
Despite the greasy and slippery conditions, he held his feet ensuring he could get the ball out – by hand or foot.
It was a game that was played at a desperate level, with both teams wanting victory and neither team prepared to take a backward step.
The ball was being moved at speed up and down the ground but it was a battle of the defences as they both repelled constant attacks.
Heathcote’s defence has worked hard all year and with only a point in it they needed to be on their game. The Saints small defenders in Dillon Hardy and Codie Price were everywhere, and were not afraid to take the ball deep into the Hawks forward area with long searching runs.
Brayden Klemke is enjoying a strong patch of form and his sure marking and ability to spread the ball for the running defence was a key factor in the resurgent second half.
Jonty Kelly played his best game of the season, combining strong marking with tenacity around the ball and being prepared to run with the ball. Luke Bell as always was the general, his calmness and ability to direct his defence was a key in the first two terms when they were under fire.
With 12 shots to six at half time all Saints supporters knew the team was playing the better footy, however, an inability to make the opposition pay on the scoreboard was a real worry.
After some poor third terms in recent times all eyes were on the team as they ran out for the second half.
There would be no such mistake on this day because from the first bounce the Saints were running everywhere and playing a much smarter brand of football.
Coach Wayne Primmer had spoken to the boys at half time and said they must be smarter about how they played, bombing the football into a packed forward line was only helping the Huntly defenders.
Taking the advice on board Heathcote began to spread the ball and be more considered when moving into the 50m arc, the result being a much better 4.6 for the term. Huntly had held the Saints back but when young Bo Davidson ran in to kick a goal late in the term people around the ground became excited as a victory looked more secure.
With the defence on top (Huntly only scored 17 in the second half), the team continued to drive the ball forward and slowly improved the score.
The siren finally sounded to give the Saints a 34-point victory and the players looked more relieved than excited with their first win for the season.
Smiles were everywhere when they walked off but the club song was sung as loud as I have heard it as they rightfully celebrated a great victory.