Hurstbridge is just one win away from their first-ever Northern Football Netball League’s Division 1 finals campaign after claiming a 21-point victory over Greensborough at Greensborough War Memorial Park.
The 9.13 (67) to 5.16 (46) triumph means the Bridges usurp the Boro from the fifth spot, and a win against Macleod at Ben Frilay Oval next week would secure a finals berth.
Meanwhile, Greensborough now must beat Whittlesea and rely on a shock Hurstbridge loss if they are to prevent their first finals absence since 2013.
Joel Cordwell’s men appeared battle-hardened after three weeks against the competition’s top sides, working relentlessly against the in-form Boro from the opening bounce.
19-year-old Mitchell Moschetti produced an inspirational performance, accumulating an enormous number of disposals, whilst tackling ruthlessly against larger-bodied opposition.
William Cookson and Jake Wild also battled tirelessly in midfield, which helped the Bridges dominate the centre clearances throughout the afternoon.
Greensborough’s moments of flair were sparked by their younger players in Benjamin Ham, Harrison Andronaco, and Ethan Luke, but the hosts would struggle with ineffective kicking all afternoon.
Bailey Jordan continued his goalscoring form from the onset, roosting a drop punt from outside the forward fifty arc within five minutes of play to create a Hurstbridge lead that would hold for the match’s duration.
Showing they were determined to fix the inaccuracies from their last performance against Greensborough, the visitors finished clinically through Mitchell Moschetti and Harry O’Brien, whilst forcing the Boro to repeat behinds.
Benjamin Beaven then capped off a brilliant opening term with a stunning goal. As the ball looked certain to trickle out for a boundary throw-in, Beaven snatched it and weaved through traffic to produce a remarkable highlight play.
Despite having an equal amount of scoring shots, the Boro would enter their huddle down by 20 points at quarter time.
Greensborough would start the stronger of the two teams in the second term, and Ben Pannam’s calm finish from a difficult angle prompted relief for Saade Ghazi’s men as after seven behinds, the Boro fans rejoiced to see their team score their first major.
However, the happiness was short-lived, as Hurstbridge immediately responded with a beautiful centre clearance. Mitchell Moschetti brilliantly read the tap of the opposing ruck and expertly drilled a kick to the leading Benjamin Beaven.
Despite Joel Naylor being kept quiet after another impressive performance from star defender Angus Seivers, Hurstbridge continued to find new avenues to goal.
Jake Wild pushed forward to hit the scoreboard, whilst a late finish from Daniel Ferronato kept the Boro within 18 points at the main break.
Both teams traded blows for the third term, but Hurstbridge would emerge from the quarter with a three-goal to-two triumph, helping them lead by a game-high 27 points.
The speed of Ethan Luke and Harrison Andronaco threatened the Hurstbridge defensive line, but the Bridges’ tacking pressure forced many chances to go astray.
With everything to play for, Saade Ghazi elected to move Seivers forward, and the defender found the goals within eight minutes of the final term, but the Boro could not string together the momentum they needed.
Hurstbridge remained composed under pressure and closed out an integral 21-point victory to put them on the brink of a top-five finish.
GREENSBOROUGH: 0.6 2.9 4.12 5.16 (46)
GOALS: B. Pannam, B. Glenn, A. Seivers, K. Lyne, D. Ferronato.
BEST: Z. Hart, H. Andronaco, B. Pannam, A. Seivers, J. Johnston, B. Fisher.
HURSTBRIDGE: 4.1 6.3 9.9 9.13 (67)
GOALS: B. Beaven 3, B. Jordan 2, H. O”Brien, J. Smith, J. Wild, M. Moschetti.
BEST: M. Moschetti, B. Beaven, J. Richards, J. Wild, W. Cookson, C. McCabe.
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