Mustangs claim huge scalp as Bennell goal delivers win over Rockingham

A Matthew Bennell goal in the dying stages of the game saw the Mandurah Mustangs snap a four-game losing streak with a thrilling 7.11 (53) to 7.9 (51) victory over what was a league-leading Rockingham outfit on Saturday night.

Bennell booted three goals for the game but saved his best for last as he snared a spectacular mark late in the fourth term before going back to slot the match-winning major.

His heroics highlighted a clash in which teammate Daniel Cransberg was awarded the game ball for being judged best-afield by the umpires, as his efforts propelled Mandurah forward countless times.

The Mustangs were forced to overcome several deficits in the game, including a two-goal buffer the Rams had built for themselves in the final term.

Rockingham had the edge in the first half, steadily breaking away after a scrappy first term.

By half time the Rams led by 11 points with Brad Walsh and Fraser Millar making an impact, but Mustangs coach George Costello implored his team to remain resilient.

Fortunately for the home crowd the Mustangs found their rhythm in the third term, booting three goals to take a one-point buffer into the final term.

The Rams threatened to sap their energy once again when Kalieb Larsen and Noah Hura converted the first two goals of the term, but Mandurah was able to peg one back before Bennell iced the game late.

Coach Costello was full of praise for his opportunistic young forward following the win, labeling him a "big-game player."

"I thought Matt was excellent when we needed him," he said.

"His confidence, and the whole team's confidence, has probably been down a bit of late but he loves the big moments and you always feel comfortable having him in those crucial situations."

Blayne Hull was among Mandurah's best, continuing his run of good form. Photo: Justin Rake.

Blayne Hull was among Mandurah's best, continuing his run of good form. Photo: Justin Rake.

The victory breathes fresh life into the Mustangs' season, ending a month-long skid as they now head into the bye week with momentum on their side.

Costello said the side, who now boasts wins over top-three heavyweights Baldivis and Rockingham, would continue trying to bridge the gap between their best and worst football.

"We're a young team, so we're aware that our best is really good and our worst can be quite poor," he said.

"We've beaten Rockingham and Baldivis now and we should have got the win over Pinjarra, so we feel like we're not far off the mark.

"It's just a matter of closing that gap and bringing our best brand of footy on a consistent basis now."

For the Rams, the loss bumps them from first down to third on the ladder, as they prepare to face a tough Centrals outfit when they return from the bye round.

Meanwhile Mandurah now prepares for a derby clash with South Mandurah.

Goals

Mandurah

M. Bennell 3, K. Farmer, B. Penny, L. Bray, i. lyndon

Rockingham

F. Millar 3, N. Hura 2, M. Anderson, K. Larsen

Best

Mandurah

B. Hull, D. Cransberg, N. Thomas, M. Bennell, J. Calver, B. Penny

Rockingham

B. Walsh, S. Kenny, M. Anderson, Z. Selkirk, B. Piggott, F. Millar