A MATTHEW Buck goal from a tight angle in the dying stages helped Koroit to a thrilling three-point win against Port Fairy on Saturday.
The lead changed six times in a dramatic final quarter, with Buck making the most of a free kick, converting from a tight angle with just minutes to spare.
The Saints won 9.12 (66) to 9.9 (63) in front of a large and vocal crowd at Gardens Oval.
Koroit coach Adam Dowie said the final two minutes after Buck’s kick were “nerve-racking”.
He said it was a see-sawing, entertaining contest.
“I think it was played in really good spirits and both sides had periods where they looked the better side,” Dowie said.
“Port Fairy was a different side to when we played them in round one and we could see why they’ve been improving with the way they moved the ball and nullified our forward line.”
Port Fairy took a eight-point lead into the first change but rued missed opportunities, having control the bulk of the play.
Koroit, through leaders like Joe McLaren, found its rhythm in the second term but both sides’ forward 50 entries lacked direction.
Scored were tied at 25-all at half-time.
The Saints kicked the first three goals of the third term but the Seagulls’ new-found belief was on show and they clawed their way back.
Gary Robinson kicked two of his five goals in the space of a minute.
The Saints’ eight-point three-quarter-time lead was quickly slashed in the opening minutes of the fourth term when athletic ruck-rover Jaise Coleman gathered the ball on the grandstand wing, galloped away, received a handball back in a one-two and slotted an inspiring goal.
Robinson put the Seagulls in front and from there the lead changed hands five more times with Koroit’s Sam Dobson, Port Fairy’s Colin Harwood, Koroit’s Jeremy Hausler and Port Fairy’s Sam McCartney hitting the scoreboard before Buck kicked the winner.
Koroit teenagers Jayden Brennan and Willem Drew, who showed composure playing on a wing, were the Saints’ best, while Josh Gunning and Coleman stood tall for the Seagulls and coach Sam Rudolph played a role in the middle and floated forward.