Kilmore forward Bailey Taylor-Egan turns Laurimar defender Alisdair Jackson inside out on his way to an open goal.

By Colin MacGillivray

KILMORE lost the match but no admirers after a last-minute goal gave Laurimar a thrilling two-point win on Saturday.

With a healthy crowd – courtesy of Kilmore’s ‘20-plus-one’ year reunion for its 2001 premiership sides – looking on at JJ Clancy Reserve, both sides put on an entertaining display of fast, physical football.

Kilmore got the better of a high-scoring first quarter in the Northern Football Netball League division three clash but two late goals to the Power kept the visitors in the match.

Injuries to ruckman Mick McCulloch, hamstring, and midfielders Chris Jackson and Hayden Phillips, shoulder and hamstring respectively, left the Blues with only one rotation.

Laurimar matched Kilmore’s physicality at the contest better in the second quarter and started to get on top, with Kaiden Arthur finding plenty of the ball and star ruckman Josh Leather taking advantage of McCulloch’s absence against a makeshift Kilmore ruck tandem of Jaxson Kinnear and Bailey Taylor-Egan.

Blues key defenders Grant Paxton and Sam McIntyre did their best to repel numerous Laurimar forward entries, but the Power had too many avenues to goal.

Micah Vecchio’s high-flying pack mark and subsequent goal was a highlight of Laurimar’s four-goals-to-one term, while at the other end Scott Swindells was Kilmore’s sole threatening target.

The Blues looked as if they might be overrun early in the third quarter but leaned on the experience of their star-studded midfield group to get them back in the match.

Chris Barton, Chris Ryall, Leigh Irons, Luke Chapman and Mick Marrett all started getting first hands on the football, while Taylor-Egan and Kinnear did a better job of negating Leather’s influence in the ruck.

Bailey Derrick was lively across half forward and kicked a goal, one of five Blues majors for the third term, giving the home side a 14-point advantage at the final change.

The toll of Kilmore’s early injuries began to show in the final quarter as the Blues spent most of their time defending.

Two goals to Laurimar gave the Power the lead back, but Kilmore looked to have sealed the win when Swindells nailed a long set shot for his fourth goal, deep into time-on.

With little time remaining, the Blues sent extra defenders behind the ball, but Laurimar was able to work forward and set up a quick snap from Ethan Frawley for the game-winning goal inside the final minute.

Players from Kilmore’s 2001 seniors and reserves premiership teams were on hand to watch the match against Laurimar on Saturday. The players celebrated a 20-year reunion, postponed from last year due to COVID, and travelled from near and far to reminisce about season 2001, a memorable season for Kilmore Football Club.

Kilmore coach Nathan Phillips said his team was disappointed but far from disgraced in the 12.9 (81) to 12.11 (83) loss.

“Our backs were against the wall. We were down to only one rotation, so it’s a fantastic effort by the boys to be in it for that long. It’s still disappointing to lose though obviously,” he said.

“We were a bit stiff to be on the wrong end of a couple of calls that could have gone either way but I think it’s something we’ll learn from and grow from.”

Phillips said he had no regrets about the way the final two minutes of the match played out.

“We rolled a couple back after [Swindells] kicked that goal, and we actually won the centre clearance and got a quick kick forward, but they took an uncontested mark at half back and were able to get some grass after that,” he said.

“That’s footy. You’ve got to do what we did in that instance. You’ve got to get your numbers behind the footy to try to save that quick clearance if it goes the other way.”

Phillips said he hoped the onlooking 2001 premiership team had been impressed by the Blues’ endeavour.

“I don’t think we would have disappointed anyone with our effort, but unfortunately you play footy for four points and we didn’t get them,” he said.