DARCY Keast had kicked 17 goals in his football career before Saturday.
Which was why brother Baillie gave him little chance of booting North Warrnambool Eagles’ match-winner against Terang Mortlake when the defender lined up almost directly in front after winning a contentious 50-metre penalty in the middle of the ground.
But Keast defied his lack of goal-kicking experience, steering it through to give the Eagles the lead with less than 30 seconds to play.
There was time for a late Bloods’ forward foray but it whittled away, leaving them to rue a three-point loss for the second consecutive week.
North Warrnambool Eagles made a fast start at Terang Recreation Reserve, kicking five goals to two in the opening term and led for much of the match.
Terang Mortlake worked its way into the contest and held a slender one-point lead at the last break before scooting away to a 15-point advantage in the final term.
But the Eagles turned the momentum.
Adam Wines moved forward to kick two late goals and Keast stood up as the unlikely goal-kicking hero to help the visitors to a morale-boosting 13.10 (88) to 12.13 (85) win.
Keast said he knew his shot at goal was make-or-break.
“I just knew that was either going to be the winner or probably the loser,” he said.
“They would have just got it or booted it out. I knew I needed to kick it otherwise it was over.”
Keast said it was an adrenalin rush.
“I was ecstatic. I turned around and all the boys were there and I just did the double fist-pump.
“They were happy as anything as well.”
The fine line between elation and heartache was evident for Keast.
He sprayed a kick-in late in the final term — after Adam Wines had put the Eagles back in the contest — and his opponent Chris Bant took the mark.
Bant, who had kicked five goals, passed off and the Bloods’ shot at goal missed.
“That probably would have been the winner for them if they had have kicked that too so I could have been feeling fairly awful but it didn’t turn out that way,” Keast said.
The Eagles made an emphatic start as their versatile forward line caused headaches for the Bloods’ defence.
Mark Murphy played deep forward and used his speed to his advantage.
He took two juggling marks and kicked two of his four goals as the Eagles took a 16-point buffer into the first break on the back of Andy McMeel and Dean Gavin’s strong midfield work.
Terang Mortlake trio Damian O’Connor, Samual McLean and Jake Meade tried their utmost to swing the momentum the Bloods’ way in the second term but the Eagles kept them at arm’s length.
Bant, as he did in the first term, kicked a goal nearing the break to get the hosts to within 15 points.
Terang Mortlake hit the front at the 17-minute mark of the third term through creative ball winner Wil Pomorin, who finished with three.
Jarryd Lewis responded for the Eagles but Pomorin dished a clever handball to Jarryd Hay, who ran into an open goal to give the Bloods a one-point lead on the siren.
Terang Mortlake coach Matthew Irving said it was a tough loss on the back of a narrow round-one defeat to Portland.
“The big thing that is still eating away at me a little bit is the fact last week we came home hard and just didn’t quite get the chocolates, but then today we’d done all the hard work to get ourselves back in front but then we just let it up,” he said. “To North’s credit, they are a good side for a reason.”