The Augusta Margaret River Hawks had a closer win than they expected on Sunday after Carey Park made an impressive comeback in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers are still yet to have a win for the 2017 season after a seven point loss to the away side at Kelly Park.
Carey Park came away with the first goal of the game but it was quickly returned by the Hawks with one of their own.
It was a lot of back and forth action and even contests between the sides for much of the first quarter, until Hawks forward Dean Buszan converted a great mark into a goal – the third and final major for the opening term.
Panther Fabian Hart worked hard to get the ball into Carey Park’s forward 50 but they were unable to do any more than a rushed behind.
AMR’s Harrison Morgan took a number of strong marks across the field and with a point from teammate Jacob Oates on the siren, the away side finished the quarter in front, 2.2.14 – 1.1.7.
After a point from Buszan and a rushed behind for the Hawks, Oakes had his own shot at goal but it fell short and resulted in the team’s third point to open the second term.
Cody Rogers worked hard for the AMR defence with a number of smothers, and the side kept it out of Carey Park’s inside 50 for much of the second quarter.
The Panthers’ efforts intensified across the field with a point from Michael Mcmillan but they struggled to combat the Hawks’ defence and fell further behind with two quick goals from the away side.
Liam Stewart scored a major for Carey Park with an impressive kick along the ground that bounced perfectly between the goal posts.
Mitchell Payne waded through lines of Panther defenders to get a kick into AMR’s forward 50 only for it to be turned around and played back and forth a number of times before the siren sounded, the Hawks in front 4.7.31 – 2.2.14.
Buszan missed a set shot in the opening seconds of the third term but the team worked hard to get it back and with help from Oakes and Ben Gerrans, Jacob Payne was able to seal the first major of the second half.
There were two behinds from Carey Park before the tackles of the game really intensified, both sides giving away free kicks for holding the ball.
A huge kick from Panther Eli Hill scored their first goal for the term and was met with massive congratulations from teammates.
The Hawks continued to show strength within their team as Oakes missed a goal but was backed up by Buszan and Payne, who put his name to the major.
Two 50 metre penalties awarded to Carey Park for a lack of discipline resulted in seven points for the side, bringing the margin to 21 points at three quarter time, Hawks in front 7.8.50 – 4.5.29.
Spirits were high among the Hawks in their three-quarter-time huddle but coach Matt Jamieson was quick to bring them back down to earth.
“We’re running harder than them but with silly mistakes, are not seeing the rewards for it,” he said.
“If you give them a free kick or a 50, don’t sit back and watch it happen – follow it up. We’re not following it up.
“Keep up that intensity, finish with good execution. Crash anything that gets in your way.”
Meanwhile Carey Park coach Richard Barnard reminded his side that the game was still “well within reach” and “whatever you do, don’t lose it”.
The Panthers came out with a roar in what quickly looked to be an epic comeback. A goal from Mcmillan was met with applause from the crowd but was returned by a goal from the Hawks.
A free kick for Jayden Wilson saw him score his first goal for the game and got the Panthers within just eight points of their first win.
Another goal from Mcmillan and the Panthers could practically taste victory but couldn’t hold on and, despite turning up the heat across the field, went down to the Hawks by seven. The final siren sounded for a 9.9.63 – 8.8.56 win for Augusta Margaret River.
The Hawks now look to round 15 when they host the Collie Eagles on Saturday, while Carey Park host Donnybrook on Sunday.