REDEMPTION. Terang Mortlake’s confidence-boosting 14.11 (95) to 13.9 (87) win over the second-placed Koroit on Saturday buried any demons it had after surrendering a 43-point lead against the Saints earlier in the season.
The triumph put the Bloods in the box seat in a race between three for the final two Hampden league finals spots.
Terang Mortlake sits fourth — a game clear of its final round opponent Camperdown.
A win would seal its spot, as would a Koroit triumph over sixth-placed Portland.
But if the Bloods lose and Tigers win, it would come down to percentage between the final three sides for fourth and fifth spots.
Terang Mortlake stand-in coach Chris Bant said the Bloods had started to build momentum approaching the business end of the season.
“To beat a top side on a good day when conditions are fine gives you belief you can match it with them,” Bant said.
Bant, who will return against the Pies from a two-week suspension, said Koroit burst out of the blocks and kicked the first six goals of the game.
Terang Mortlake fought back to be three points adrift at quarter-time.
The Bloods took control of the contest in the second term, piling on six goals to three to shift momentum their way.
That 13-point advantage was whittled down to seven at the final change.
“They were always within striking distance,” Bant said.
Bant said the Bloods “didn’t shy away” from their second-half fadeout from earlier in the season and had learnt lessons from that heart-breaking defeat.
“We took the game on and didn’t go back into our shells,” he said.
“Our intensity around the footy was the key.
“It was a team effort, picking the best players was really tough.”
Bant said onballer Wil Pomorin booted three goals in a strong performance and ruckman-cum-forward Stephen Staunton’s four-goal effort was important.
Koroit coach Adam Dowie said the Saints “did a fair bit of chasing” throughout the game.
“It was almost the reverse of what happened the first time,” he said.
“At Koroit it was seven goals to one (the Bloods’ way) at half-time and at one stage in the first quarter (on Saturday) we were up six goals to zip.
“They kicked four or five goals in a quick period of time.
“It was an amazing first quarter with so many goals kicked.”
Dowie said the loss — the Saints’ fourth of the season — might be a wake-up call for his side.
“Staunton, Pomorin and (Damian) O’Connor were good and we had trouble stopping them and were reactive,” he said.
“They ran and spread well and used the footy well and our accountability wasn’t what it should have been.
“Having a loss like that heading towards finals will be a good thing, to be honest.
“It exposes areas we need to work on.”
Midfielder Ben Goodall and defender Dallas Mooney, who was given more latitude rather than playing a shutdown role, were Koroit’s best.