Classic Contests: Cannons grab momentum at ideal time to upset Bushies

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back our series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 16 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Calder Cannons and Murray Bushrangers. In this edition, we wind the clock back to 2017, when Calder got up on the road in a game defined by heavy momentum shifts.

2017 TAC Cup, Round 13
Sunday July 16, 1:00pm
Deakin Reserve

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 7.1 | 8.5 | 12.6 | 15.8 (98)
CALDER CANNONS 2.2 | 9.5 | 11.12 | 15.17 (107)

GOALS:

Murray: D. Johnston 6, Z. Barzen 3, J. Trotter, N. Murray, J. Richards, J. Butts, J. Lane, J. Wilson.
Calder: 
J. Velissaris 3, M. Moustafa 3, A. Tilley 3, D. Landt 2, M. Podhajski, B. Caluzzi, B. Bernacki, S. Skidmore.

BEST:

Murray: D. Johnston, B. Paton, J. Lane, R. Bruce, W. Donaghey, N. Murray
Calder: 
N. Balta, B. Bernacki, J. Firebrace, A. Tilley, P. Mahoney, M. Podhajski

Draftees in action:

Murray: Ben Paton, Jordon Butts, Mathew Walker, Ely Smith
Calder: Noah Balta, Jake Riccardi

It seemed we were in for a straightforward result when the 9-3 Murray Bushrangers were poised to host the 3-9 Calder Cannons in Round 13 of the 2017 TAC Cup, but Calder must have missed the memo. The Bushrangers had won in three of their last four outings having come out of the mid-year patch relatively unscathed, while Calder benefited from the period to pick up three wins in its last six games with a consistent win-loss pattern. Importantly, the Cannons had lost last time out, so were due for a win according to form.

The withdrawal of Lachlan Sholl on gameday hardly helped the Cannons’ cause, leaving them a man down heading into the clash at Deakin Reserve. It seemed to show in the early goings, as Murray stormed out of the blocks with the game’s first six majors to set up a five-goal advantage at the first break. Cue the first momentum shift, as Calder carried on its form from late in the opening term to reply with seven goals in the next period. The flurry put the Cannons a single straight kick ahead at the main break.

After two very different periods of play, Calder would keep up with the rampant Bushrangers but was unable to convert enough chances to apply the rightful scoreboard impact. A wasteful 2.7 put the Cannons level with Murray at three quarter time, after the Bushrangers converted four of their five scoring shots. With the scores tied up at 78 points apiece heading into the final term, the game was poised for a grandstand finish.

Murray looked to be well on its way to outlasting the Cannons after Joe Richards and Daniel Johnston booted majors early in the final stanza, but the Cannons would rally and have their greater wealth of scoring opportunities count to come out unlikely nine-point victors. The win saw Calder jump from 11th to ninth, maintaining its win-loss pattern and putting the Cannons back in the race for finals amid a mid-table bottleneck.

Richmond utility Noah Balta was outstanding for the victors, racking up 31 disposals and seven marks in a powerful display, with three behinds making his outing a would-have-been blinder. Cannons leader Brad Bernacki was at his consistent best with 26 touches, nine tackles, and a goal, while new GWS mature-age recruit Jake Riccardi was kept to just two minor scores from his nine disposals. TAC Cup leading goalkicker Johnstone earned plaudits for his six-goal haul on the losing side, while St Kilda’s Ben Paton had 23 disposals, five marks, and five tackles. Fellow draftees Mathew Walker (17 disposals, eight marks), Jordon Butts (16 dispsosals, six marks), and Ely Smith (19 disposals) also contributed solidly.

Come season’s end, ninth would be all the Cannons could manage, finishing the regular season at 6-12 and a game and a half off eighth spot. Murray only added one win to its tally for the remainder of the season, ending up fifth with 10 wins and eight losses, only to lose comfortably in week one of finals to eventual grand finalist, Sandringham.

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