Written by Jarryd Barca
The Calder Cannons find themselves equal-second on the NAB League ladder after scraping past the GWV Rebels in Round 15.
The home side was able to keep the Cannons at arms length for most of the day and even drew the lead out to 23 points nearing stoppage time in the third term.
But in a show of pure resilience, Calder was able to kick five of the last six goals of the match to pip the Rebels and secure its fourth win in a row.
The Rebels recorded 70 more disposals over the four quarters and held the ascendancy in most key areas.
But despite never really controlling the game, Cannons assistant coach Chris Nolan said it was one of their proudest wins of the season.
“We’re very proud of the kids. They were phenomenal,” he said post game.
“It was pretty frustrating to be truthful, it just felt like we were moments away but just couldn’t control the game.
“They were pretty good. Our pressure was good enough, our execution forward of centre probably not.
“We could’ve certainly had things in control a lot earlier but to pull it off with 10 minutes to go – you’ll take it.”
Midfielder Sam Ramsay led from the front in another eye-catching performance, picking up 33 disposals, 12 tackles, seven inside 50s and five clearances in the win.
Ned Gentile was also influential with 21 disposals and five tackles, but it was his ability to step up when it mattered most with three important goals that came to the fore.
Nineteen-year-old Mason Fletcher booted 3.3 and took five marks as the side’s focal point in the forward 50.
But the collective effort of the group to stand tall and not give in despite things not going their way was the overriding factor in the result.
Nolan gave praise to his many standouts.
“Sam Ramsay is going as good as I’ve seen a block of form since I’ve been at the club,” he said.
“To be able to go from an outside running type defender-wingman to what he’s doing on the inside now as a midfielder – win his own ball – has been great.
“Jackson Cardillo has been an outstanding bottom-ager all year, his ability o compete, win his own ball and apply pressure, he was really good.
“Josh Eyre – I wouldn’t say a breakout game but he’s not far away, he was composed, he took some great, really important marks deep and used it by foot beautifully at pressured times.
“Harrison Andronaco as a 15-16 year-old … he was actually a real barometer. Him and Flynn Gentile as kids to do what they did today, they just give an injection of not just enthusiasm but they actually bring a bit of pace that we lack.”
“And ‘Fletch’ – Mason’s had seven shots at goal today, once he works or gets his head around the understanding of the actual forward role as such and the actual work load required like getting up and down and working sideways – there’s a few tricks there within the boy.”
Nolan said the composure shown by the leaders of the group and making the right decisions at the right times – such as winning the ball back at crucial times and knowing when to cause stoppage or restart – was “really important”.
“I think this win will do wonders for their confidence even for what’s left of our season,” he said.
“The emotion when they sung the song and to see the boys united, even with the four or five 15-16 year olds today, the group – they sensed that it was such a hard-fought win and they were spent.
“Just to see the joy it brought them, sometimes you do have to work hard and do it ugly but they actually got a really good reward today and I think when the dust settles they’ll realise the significance of what they’ve achieved.”
The Cannons will lap up another bye week before returning for their final home-and-away match of the season against the Eastern Ranges at Avalon Airport Oval on August 17.