Tyler Sutton ended South Mandurah’s season when his snap around the body found the middle of the goals in the dying minutes of their Rockingham’s elimination final clash with the Falcons on Sunday afternoon.
A fourth quarter that saw the two sides boot 17 goals between them produced a number of crucial moments, from Callum Dews’ smother on the mark to Chris Oliver’s goal to tie the game late, but none came more decisive than Sutton’s point followed by a goal in the final minute.
The key forward quickly got boot to ball with time running low and miraculously conjured a goal to give his Rams a captivating 18.11 (119) to 17.10 (112) victory at Anniversary Park.
It was the end to what was the craziest quarter of the Peel Football and Netball League season, with a barrage of goals from both sides keeping spectators guessing as to who would come away with the victory.
Jakob Janzekovic was outstanding presenting from the Rams’ forward arch on the day and booted the first of the fourth term to give Rockingham a 17-point lead.
But Falcon Rhys Price was dominant in the final term and nailed his first of three goals for the period on the back of two from star forward Brad Holmes, helping spur a run of five straight that saw South Mandurah take control.
The lead went as quickly as it was built, however, with a pair of Mitchel Curnow majors and one to Sutton tying scores up midway through the term.
Yet the Falcons remained in control of the midfield contest with Jack Varley, Andrew Haydon and Riley Steinbock winning a crucial clearance, allowing Price to run into an open goal moments later and restore his side’s six-point buffer.
The game looked headed for extra time when Chris Oliver tied scores up with a goal in the dying stages, but a behind from Sutton put South Mandurah under the pump.
The Falcons opted for the long bomb right down the middle of the ground but Rockingham forced it back into their forward arch, where Sutton would find himself getting boot to ball on the game-winning major, keeping the Rams’ season alive for another week.
Despite the insanity of the final term the play of the day came in the third quarter, when Rockingham’s Andrew Stokes snatched the ball from a South Mandurah kick-out and nailed a goal on the run from almost 50m out, with the ball crossing the line as the three-quarter time siren sounded.
Holmes finished the day with his second straight bag of eight goals, ending his year with 107, while Aaron Zucconi and Jaydon Cullen were influential for South Mandurah.
Rockingham had a string of contributors, with Curnow and Andrew Walsh both playing vital roles while Fraser Millar pieced together a strong outing.
The Rams now move on to another do-or-die clash with Baldivis, who were thumped by Centrals in their qualifying final on Sunday.
The Blues can now look forward to having another second chance to call on when they face Pinjarra next week.