A THRILLING draw and a nail biting comeback snuffed in the dying moments were among the highlights of round five in the TAC Cup.
The round kicked off with the Geelong Falcons defeating premiership contender Eastern Ranges.
Playing at Werribee’s Avalon Airport Oval, the Falcons turned a 17-point quarter time deficit into a two-point half-time lead and never looked back.
Forward James Worpel continues to be a danger for opposition defenders, kicking three goals and looking lively.
For the Ranges, Josh Hannon booted four goals, while Josh Begley backed up his debut six-goal haul with another three goals this week.
It was not enough though, as the Falcons enjoyed the 13.18 (96) to 11.8 (74) win.
A nine goal haul from over-ager Karl Brown was the difference in Calder Cannons’ 52-point win over Gippsland Power.
It was the Cannons first victory of the year, leaving the Power as the only TAC Cup side without a win.
The biggest talking point from the match was an off-the-ball incident involving first round prospect Ben Ainsworth, with Cannons player James Peters suffering two compound fractures.
On the field, it was hoped the 19.8 (122) to 10.10 (70) victory can kick-start the Cannons season.
An understrength Oakleigh Chargers taking on a less than impressive Northern Territory did not initially build as an entertaining game, but it turned into a thriller.
The Northern Territory were ultra impressive early, making the most of their opportunies, while Oakleigh simply did not.
Isaiah Farrell-Nelson booted four goals in the first three quarters – the same amount as Oakleigh.
Jordan Ridley and Lachlan Walker turned it on in the last 35 minutes, booting five goals to turn a six goal deficit into a one point lead.
Remarkably, just as the game looked set to be stolen from the Northern Territory, a late goal to Ankin Abbott put them back in front and some strong defensive efforts late held the lead for the siren sounding while up Oakleigh’s attacking end.
Oakleigh will rue its missed opportunities in the 8.14 (62) to 10.7 (67) loss.
In the other battle of the winless sides, Northern Knights got up over Tasmania by 18 points.
Neither side inspired a great deal of confidence that they will go too far this season, but the Knights managed to get home after a strong first half.
Leading by 44 points at half-time, they were forced to sweat a little in the second half as the Mariners powered home with six goals to two, but ultimately it was a case of too little, too late.
North Ballarat Rebels bounced back into the top eight thanks to a 70-point belting of Bendigo Pioneers.
Both sides were level at half-time, but a Rebels side, led by Hugh McCluggage who booted five goals and was a clear best on ground, kicked away in the second half with 16 goals to five.
The Pioneers, while gallant, were missing their best player Kobe Mutch and could not compete after the main break, particularly in the disastrous 10 goals to one term.
Two of the premiership contenders the Murray Bushrangers and Sandringham Dragons met in what might have been underwhelming considering the amount of players missing from both sides.
On the field it was still an entertaining contest, with the lead changing at every break.
The Bushrangers led by a goal with a quarter to play, but the Dragons refused to lie down, booting four goals to three in a strong last quarter to level the scores, forcing both teams to split the points.
To say the final match of the round was a fizzer would be an understatement.
The Dandenong Stingrays continued their unbeaten streak with a 54-point win that surprised very few, but the inaccuracy of the winners, paired with the lack of action from the opposition meant it could be tough to watch at times.
The Stingrays kept the Western Jets scoreless in the opening term, putting on a 21-point buffer, before being held scoreless themselves, while the Jets added three points.
After half-time, the Stingrays ran away with the contest, but it was far from clinical, booting 6.15 to Western’s 1.3, to finish on 9.18 (72) to 2.6 (18).
At the end of the round, Dandenong top the ladder, two points ahead of the Bushrangers and Dragons.
Geelong Falcons and Oakleigh Chargers sit on four wins, while the Eastern Ranges remain in sixth from three wins.
North Ballarat sit inside the top eight on two wins, while the Calder Cannons, Western Jets and Bendigo Pioneers remain in contention with one win, ahead of the winless Gippsland Power.