TIMBOON Demons coach Brendan Hickey hopes victory against Deakin University can spark further success at the back end of the campaign.
The Demons won 12.20 (92) to 9.13 (67) at Timboon Recreation Reserve to make amends for a 16-point defeat to the Sharks a fortnight earlier.
They have a 3-9 record but can improve that by beating South Rovers, Russells Creek, East Warrnambool and Nirranda in their final four matches. “In comparison to last year, we had five wins and at stages this year five wins looked a long way off,” Hickey said.
“The next couple of weeks we’ve got Dennington and Panmure. After that we should be able to finish the season off with some pretty competitive footy.”
The wasteful Demons led at every break but didn’t secure the points until kicking the last three goals of the match.
They were about six points up when the Sharks kicked the first of the last but got home thanks to goals from Kris Ward, Neil Gowland and Ben Saunders.
Ward, playing his first match for the season, finished with four goals while Tom Hunt booted three.
Teenager Joel Moriarty was best afield on a wing along with Ben Newey — back from a stint in Perth — and Eddie Gaut.
“We were really pleased with him (Moriarty). It’s just his second game of senior footy. He’s a class kid,” Hickey said.
“He had some injury interruptions early in the year. He did the pre-season with the Falcons and had trouble with a knee.
“It’s great to see him back playing footy again and playing the kind of game we always knew he could play.”
Steve Byron (four goals) and assistant coach Matt Lenehan (three) led the way up forward for Deakin University.
Onballer Joe Higgins was again a standout while Josh van Heugten and Aiden Bourke earned plaudits.
But the Sharks couldn’t replicate their heroics from a fortnight ago and sorely missed senior trio James Crawford, Liam Turner and Moz Maschek.
Lenehan said his men failed to apply enough pressure when the Demons burst forward — a key factor in the result.
“They went inside 50 just as much as we did but they had a lot more space than we did,” he said.
A lack of avenues to goals was also an issue. Lenehan and Byron were their only goalkickers to half-time.
“You can blame blokes you didn’t have and blokes you did have. But they had 22 blokes and so did we,” Lenehan said.
“The only difference in the end was their better blokes were better for longer.”
Lenehan said the Sharks hoped to get Turner, Maschek and Alex Kydd back for their clash against East Warrnambool at D. C. Farran oval on Saturday.