A last-minute goal handed the MPNFL a six-point win over the NFNL in the under 19s clash at the 2018 WorkSafe AFL Victoria Community Championships.
The major from Jarrod Sullivan with the last kick of the game gave the visitors a 10.5 (65) to 9.5 (59) win at Preston City Oval.
Oli Wilson, Matthew Perazzola and Ben Laschko were impressive for the home side, as were Koby Villis, Jarrod Sullivan and Kye Whitford for the visitors.
It was the MPNFL who started well in the first quarter, kicking the opening two goals. The first came through Sullivan, before a silky snap from Billy Geurts put breathing space between the two sides early.
A superb intercept and goal from Matthew Checchin gave Northern their first, before the MPNFL snatched one back when Nathan Allen squeezed the ball past the post to give his side an 11-point lead at the first break.
Northern came out firing in the second term with frantic pressure, led by Oli Wilson and Tynan Smith.
Some end to end work saw Adrian De Sando get on the end of a Smith pass, which saw him kick truly. However, the momentum was shortly stopped as the MPNFL stole one back through Kye Whitford.
The two-goal lead wouldn’t last long for the MPNFL, with two goals in a minute from Matthew Perazzola ensuring the scores would be tied at the long break.
Northern continued where they left off after half-time thanks to a fantastic dribble from Laschko, who continued his dominance from the first half.
Just as the NFNL looked like getting on top, the momentum turned again when Kye Whitford snapped his second for the visitors, before Ishak Bashir chipped in with an incredible snap from the boundary to snatch back the lead.
Ben Peterson replied instantly to level the scores, before Northern found themselves in front at three-quarter time thanks to a late goal from skipper Smith.
During his three-quarter time address, NFNL coach Rod Cann urged his side to apply constant pressure to the ball carrier at all times.
The pressure was certainly shown in the early stages of the last quarter with Wilson and Checchin leading by example at every contest.
However, it was the away side who got the ball rolling in the last with goals to Nathan Allan and captain Koby Villis to take a seven-point advantage midway through the term.
Checchin stepped up to level the scores with seven minutes remaining, before Blake Murphy made it two goals in 30 seconds when he steered in a beautiful running goal from just inside the 50m arc to give the home side the lead.
A thrilling finish was on the cards once Whitford slotted his third major to level the scores with just under three two minutes left on the clock.
The game would belong to the MPNFL when Jarrod Sullivan ensured a fairytale finish for the away side, kicking the winner from a tight angle with 32 seconds remaining.
Final score: NFNL 9.5 (59) def by MPNFL 10.5 (65)
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