PICOLA United sealed an important victory with the last kick of the game over last year’s grand finalist Strathmerton.
Trailing by a single point going into the last 20 seconds, John Varcoe’s team nailed a goal to win the match 51-46 at home on Saturday.
Varcoe said Strathmerton is ‘‘always a tough side’’ to face, especially early in the season.
‘‘It was a very close game, we hit the front with 20 seconds to go, and that was the only time we were in front in the whole game.
‘‘Strathmerton are a strong team and have played in the last six grand finals. So we often have good games against them, and good tough games too,’’ he said.
Varcoe said Strathmerton came out of the blocks firing and pressured United into early mistakes.
‘‘They really started well and were on top of us early, they put us under pressure with their tackling, and moved the ball well.
‘‘Luckily for us they missed a few opportunities in front of goal, which we were thankful for,’’ he said.
Although it was a low-scoring game, Varcoe said that was due to two defensive powerhouses meeting.
‘‘After quarter time it was a tight tussle for the rest of the day, with a fair bit of skill involved, and kicking opportunities missed by both teams.
‘‘We had the same issues later on as they did, where we couldn’t kick straight and never gave in and kept the pressure on and fortunately came away with it.
‘‘It was a low scoring game, because they’re both very strong defensively, so there was a lot of stoppages, and both sides missed some scoring opportunities and kicking accuracy was down,’’ he said.
In the end it was Varcoe’s side that had the fitness and ability to change up the field with their substitute bench that made the difference.
‘‘We felt we were right in it at three quarter time, and were starting to get a bit of ascendency and there was hope there for us.
‘‘It was hard to tell if we were fitter, but we were able to rotate fairly heavily from the bench. We do pride ourselves on being fit,’’ he said.
Next up for the side is a strong Berrigan side, which has won two from its opening three matches.
‘‘Berrigan is a strong team, they’ve started well and we have to travel to them and that’s a challenge for us now. We look forward to playing a strong team away and getting a result,’’ Varcoe said.
The match will be held at Berrigan Sportsground from 2.05pm.