Camperdown lost in-form midfielder Cameron Spence early in the contest but he was still a huge factor in the Magpies’ stunning victory over second-placed Port Fairy on Saturday.
Spence was stretchered from the field in the first quarter after he was struck in the face by an opponent’s knee running back with the flight of the ball.
Magpies coach Phil Carse said his side could have gone back into its shell after Spence’s injury, but it wanted to make sure it honoured the fallen teammate.
“We addressed it (the injury) at all the breaks that we really wanted to do it for Spence,” Carse said after the 8.11 (59) to 6.13 (49) victory at Gardens Oval.
The win pushed the Magpies to second and relegated the Seagulls to third.
“He is a heart and soul player of our team and you hate seeing a teammate go down in pain like that. We really just wanted to get the points for him.
“We could have thrown in the towel and decided it wasn’t our day, with (Cam) Spence clearly being our best midfielder this year, so it would have been easier to think that things weren’t going to go our way.
“But we have a lot of times this year had our backs against the wall and we just find another gear and today we did that.”
Carse thought his side was able to utilize its skills and positioning to break open the game but it also allowed the Seagulls to stay in touch.
“I thought our run and spread and our ability to use the corridor and the far side of the ground was really good and we were able to keep opening up the field,” the fourth-year coach said.
“But we let them back in and overpossessed at times and our skill errors that let them back in.
“However when we did take the game on and it worked well it gave us the opportunity to hit the scoreboard.”
Seagulls coach Dan Nicholson’s three-quarter time speech, which focused on the pride that came with wearing Port Fairy’s jumper on the club’s 150th birthday, wasn’t enough to push them over the line.
The Seagulls had the momentum in the last quarter but their conversion was what kept the Magpies in contact.
Camperdown was able to kick a late goal and push the margin to a safe nine points and held on for victory.
Both sides had the yips early with 2.8 kicked between the sides going into the quarter-time break.