COBDEN is still in the race for a double chance in the Hampden league finals after toppling ladder leader Port Fairy 13.14 (92) to 10.10 (70) on Saturday.
The Bombers lifted a gear in a scintillating third quarter in the heated clash, turning a three-point lead at half-time – courtesy of a 50m penalty and goal to Paddy Smith – into a commanding 29-point advantage at the final change.
The Smith goal came after the youngster copped some unwanted attention after marking, with Cobden’s Paul Pekin and Port Fairy’s Matt Sully sent off from the resulting scrap between the two teams.
The Seagulls kept the Bombers in check in the last quarter, but couldn’t make any inroads on the deficit, which got out to 40, before late goals saw the Seagulls reduce the margin to 22.
Cobden coach Levi Dare was thrilled to see his charges get the points against a top-three side, particularly with finals “just around the corner”.
“We haven’t beaten a side above us in the top three so far this year, so to get that win today against a quality side was really good for us,” he said.
“Our second half is where we’ve been losing games the last two weeks against second (Koroit) and third (South Warrnambool). So for us to come out in that third quarter, it was a big focus for us and to play like that was really pleasing.
“I think it’s good for the belief that now we know we can do that: we’re not just going to fade away every time.”
Dare got the Bombers going with a dominant display in the ruck, at times dominating Sandy Robinson, who was under pressure with no Robbie Hare in the side this week to give him a chop-out against the reigning Maskell Medallist.
Brody Mahoney (two goals) was influential around the contest, while Jesse Williamson (one) continued his stellar season and was involved in plenty of the play.
Smith, in just his third senior game, was influential in his first win and slotted through two goals.
For all that the Seagulls were battered on the scoreboard, coach Brett Evans could find little to fault in their intent, rather pointing the finger at poor skill execution.
“I thought our boys played a lot better brand of footy today,” he said. “I thought we moved it well and we got to the spaces where we wanted to get to, but it was just our skill errors let us down.”
Seagulls captain Daniel Nicholson tried to drag his team back into the contest through sheer strength of will, finishing with four goals.
The loss has cost Port Fairy top spot this week and potentially a week off in the first week of finals, but Evans was hopeful his charges could start to build momentum next week and carry it through to their first final.