The Northern Knights have suffered their third straight loss, falling in heartbreaking fashion to the Calder Cannons on Saturday afternoon at Preston City Oval.
A goal to Jesse Firebrace on the final siren sealed a win for Calder and put the Knights at 6-8-1 on the season.
In a game where the wind played a massive part in the game, the Knights had the wind in the first quarter and used it to their advantage. Braedyn Gillard kicked two goals and Jamison Shea one to take a 11-point lead into the first break.
Calder responded in the second quarter kicking three goals to zero to take a 10-point lead into half time with goals to Bytel, Riccardi and Huggard giving them the edge at the main break.
The Knights failed to take full advantage of the wind in the third quarter, with inaccurate kicking in front of goal with Coach Justin Wenke saying it may have cost them the game in the end.
“We had our chances in that third quarter to put the game away and we didn’t do that.” Wenke said.
“We missed some easy shots and in the end that really hurt us.”
The final quarter was a scrappy battle with both teams playing a real tough brand of football. A goal to Jamison Shea five minutes into the quarter gave the Knights a seven-point lead, before Noah Balta responded instantly with a goal from the centre square.
From there it was a fantastic contest between two teams desperately wanting a win, with no goals for over 20 minutes before Firebrace sealed the Cannons win.
Coach Wenke said despite the loss he felt yesterday was a real turning point for his boys.
“We may have lost today, but I feel in that second half we turned the corner and started to play like we did early in the season again.”
“That hunger was back and after five weeks of some poor results it was pleasing to see it from the boys, especially in that second half.”
“Sometimes it takes a real blow to get that fire back and I think seeing the players after the game they are ready to respond big time and finish this year strongly.”
The Knights finals dream is still very much alive and after a week off this week due to a development weekend, they will face a much improved Western Jets in a critical contest.
“Western will be a real challenge, they beat the Chargers yesterday and we need to be at our best to win that game.”
Calder Cannons: 1.2 4.6 5.7 7.10 (52)
Northern Knights 3.1 3.2 5.8 6.10 (46)
Calder Cannons: B. Huggard 2, J. Bytel 2, N. Balta, J. Riccardi, J. Firebrace
Northern Knights: J. Shea 3, B. Gillard 2, L. Sinclair
Calder Cannons : L. Cavallaro, B. Bernacki, J. Firebrace, A. Coote, J. Bytel, I. Moussa
Northern Knights: N. Coffield, M. Baker, E. Penrith, K. Nasser, S. Binion, M. Andrews