SOMETIMES all it takes is a bit of magic to bring a cold, wet crowd to life.
Enter Will Couch.
The enigmatic Koroit forward helped deliver the Hampden league minor premiership to Victoria Park on Saturday in a two-minute period which encapsulated him as a player.
The Saints fans love him, the opposition supporters love to give it to him.
Couch thrives on both the positive and negative vibes from across the boundary line fence.
The premiership-winning Saint scored two goals – one from a free and the other after sidestepping an opponent and drilling a kick from the boundary 45 metres out – to end Port Fairy’s hopes.
He celebrated accordingly. The goals put too big a buffer between the top two sides in wet, muddy conditions.
“A bit of magic from Couchy a couple of times was pretty special, we know he can do that,” Koroit coach Chris McLaren said after the Saints’ 9.7 (61) to 3.8 (26) win.
“He does do that quite regularly, he kicks amazing goals and does the freakish things.”
Couch’s moments helped bury the Seagulls.
But it was the final goal to first-gamer Seamus Brady which pleased McLaren most.
“It was great for him to kick a goal late and I think every player came to him,” he said.
“That says a lot about the group, they are passionate and motivated – five goals up in the mud and every player was able to run to the other end (of the ground) and get around him.
“That was my highlight of the day to be honest. It shows their care for each other.”
The Saints kicked five unanswered goals in the fourth term after holding a seven-point buffer at the final change.
They were also seven points clear at the main break, which was shortened as both clubs agreed to stay on the ground due to the weather instead of returning to the rooms.
Koroit secured top spot with two rounds remaining and will enjoy a week off come the first week of finals as it chases a league record five straight flags.
“You’d like think we weren’t going to lose the last three to lose top spot but to make that official is nice,” McLaren said.
“We’ve been training the last few weeks loading them up, thinking we were going to get that and it’s always risky to do that and then miss it.”
But McLaren believes the Saints and Seagulls will start even when they meet in September, downplaying the round 16 win in inclement conditions.
“I thought our effort was terrific and in the conditions I thought our skills were really good with the way we kicked the ball but next time we play them at some stage in a final, that won’t give us any advantage,” he said.