JUBILATION was the order of the day at Mack Oval on Saturday, with the home team winning its first game of the season.
Russells Creek recovered from a slow start to record a 16.15 (111) to 12.9 (81) win over Deakin University.
The day started poorly for the Kangaroos when they lost the toss and kicked into the wind.
The Sharks had 10 scoring shots to two and were able to open up a 28-point lead at the first break.
While the margin was not out of reach with the wind now at the Kangaroos’ back, the home team could have been forgiven for thinking another loss was on its way.
But with experienced and hard-bodied onballers Ben Jansen and Shaun McDougall leading the way, the Kangaroos were able to dominate the second quarter and get back in the game.
They did so with such good effect that by half-time they had a three-point lead. Russells Creek coach Jay Everall said the first half was a testing period for his team.
“They got the jump on us early and some of that was our kicking skill errors that let them, which was a bit disappointing,” Everall said.
“But I think playing at home helped us stay settled. The ground was in good nick, which allowed us to play normal footy and we were able to use the breeze properly.
“Then it was a bit of a challenge being in front at half-time and talking the guys through that because it has not been familiar territory this season.”
It turned out Everall was able to use his vast football experience to good use, as his half-time message got through and helped the Kangaroos to outscore the Sharks four goals to three in the third quarter to lead by nine points.
With the wind now in their sails, the Kangaroos came home with four goals to one to pull off a memorable victory.
It was a win Everall said he was confident wasn’t far away.
“We have improved in a lot of areas since the start of the season and I knew if we could play as well as we had for periods against the top teams over the last month then we would be a chance.
“And we were able to put up a consistent effort and got the rewards so I’m rapt for the players.”
The loss ended a dramatic week for the Sharks. After the resignation of coach Trent Anderson, they were playing their first game under new mentor Matthew Lenehan.
In the other game of the split round, Panmure flexed its muscles with a 19.24 (134) to 3.6 (24) win over Timboon Demons.
Daniel Roache and James Keane kicked three goals each for the Bulldogs, with Brady Purcell best on ground.
Matthew Grant was the Demons’ best player.