Fifth-placed Magpies swoop on Sharks to stay in finals hunt

Taj StubberAlbany Advertiser
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Denmark-Walpole remain in the mix to play finals.
Camera IconDenmark-Walpole remain in the mix to play finals. Credit: Albany Advertiser

A third-quarter blitz that yielded eight goals has kept Denmark-Walpole’s slim finals hopes alive after a hard-fought 44-point win over Albany at Centennial Stadium on Sunday.

The fifth-placed Magpies needed a win to remain in the finals hunt and the visitors led by 15 points at the first change before extending that margin to 21 points after kicking the final two goals of the second term.

The third term was all one way traffic as the visitors piled on six unanswered goals before Sharks forward Kieran Gowdie marked in the goal square to break the shackles for the home side.

Shayne Zanetti owned the quarter booting three majors, as the Magpies’ eight goals to two opened up a match-winning 59-point advantage heading into the last term.

The margin at the last change was decisive as the Sharks produced a spirited fightback.

Zanetti bagged his fifth to push the deficit to 65 points before the home side kicked the last three goals of the game.

The Magpies though were able to prevail despite being the walking wounded at the final siren, hanging on 15.9 (99) to 8.7 (55).

Injuries to Luke Hutcheson, Harry Lill, Bodean Mead and then Tyler Stone very late in the game left the Magpies without any fit players at the finish. Co-coach Ryan Gaerth was superb in the win along with fellow senior players Zanetti, Stone and Dave MacDonald while Jayden Pickett and Lill were also influential.

“Five guys played two games and we lost a few to injury,” Gaerth said. “So it was a pretty good win considering those circumstances.

“We hit the scoreboard in the second and third and we were pretty cooked in the last quarter but managed to hang on.

“We are still a cheeky (finals) chance.”

The Sharks fielded seven colts players, including debutants Hudson O’Dea and Flynn Cristinelli, but were left to rue their third-quarter lapse.

Brock Tiede, defender Mitch Jackson and Kieran Gowdie all played prominent roles for Sharks while Taj Williams and Jack Banks worked tirelessly.

Sharks coach Kim Mayfield lamented another poor quarter from his side.

“At half-time I thought we were right in the game but the third quarter really hurt, we just went to sleep,” Mayfield said. “It seems to be happening all year. “We didn’t put enough pressure on and couldn’t get our hands on the ball.”

Hutcheson stayed in hospital overnight and was having scans on his head and neck while Mead was concussed, Lill dislocated his finger and Stone hurt his ankle.

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