A silky start and a resilient last quarter proved two things - Scottsdale has learned from its early-season woes, and will be a real threat in finals.
Sunday’s 14.6 (90) to 9.12 (66) defeat of Longford cemented the Magpies’ eighth win in nine games, and was enough to book in another do-or-die final at Invermay Park next weekend against Hillwood.
After kicking the first six goals of the match, the Pies watched as their lead was whittled back to just four points in the final term – undoubtedly bringing back memories of their string of heartbreaking losses in the first half of the year.
But a something-from-nothing snap from Brady Gee – his fourth goal for the match - turned the tide, and ruckman Daniel Roozendaal sealed the result with two strong contested marks inside forward 50.
MORE PHOTOS: Scottsdale v Longford
“In the first half of the year we probably would have rolled over and let them win, whereas we fought back when they challenged us which was the pleasing thing from my point of view,” Magpies coach Geoff Mohr said after the game.
“Now we know when we’re challenged we know we’ve got to win the game instead of trying to hold onto it.”
The Magpies could do no wrong in the first quarter, finishing plays with deadly accuracy while at the other end Longford was left to rue three posters.
The Country Tigers registered six points before Ben Chugg ended the curse with two goals from the 50m arc, and the comeback began.
With coach Beau Thorp leading the way through the centre and across half-back, Longford started to dominate the clearances and used pinpoint disposal by foot to move the ball into attack.
Jackson Blair and Jono Smart kicked two goals in two minutes in the final term to bring the Tigers closer than they’d been all game, but the final 15 minutes was all Scottsdale as the collective class of Roozendaal, Joe Krushka, Elliot Tyson and Mohr saw the game out.
Thorp said he was proud of his troops in defeat and singled out the efforts of young ruckman Rory Alexander and experienced midfielder Zeke Gossage.
“It’s definitely been a positive year for the club and it’s good to give the boys some exposure to finals footy,” Thorp said after the game.
“It’s very hard to win a game when you give a team a 30-point head start, but to their credit the boys played really well in the second and third quarters.
“We couldn’t quite bridge that gap and when they’ve got big Rooza forward in those last couple of minutes, he’s pretty hard to stop.
“Scottsdale are a good side and they’re going to do some damage in the finals.”