CHURCHILL and Yarram were left shaking heads as well as hands after playing out an incredible draw during round 16 of North Gippsland football on Saturday.
A thumping goal on the run from marauding Yarram half-back Jay McDonald levelled scores at 16.12 (108) apiece with 15 seconds to play and earned the Demons a share of the spoils at Gaskin Park.
Both sides were in positions to win the game at various stages and neither coach was sure how to react to the result.
“It was a bizarre game,” Cougars coach Allan Chandler said.
“They belted us at times and we were better than them at times so it was probably a fair result in the end.
“We played a poor last few minutes where we made a number of mistakes and weren’t doing what we were supposed to structure-wise but hopefully we can use that as a learning tool for the rest of the season.”
Yarram coach Chris Pettitt was similarly torn.
“In the end it was two points gained, but after the start we made it was two points lost,” he said.
“Our run was really good in the first quarter and our spread led to a lot of one-on-ones and easy scoring opportunities because of how hard we were working, but that dropped off in the second.
“There were a lot of positives, but the best part of the result was how we came back after going behind in the last quarter.”
Yarram raced to a 30-point quarter-time lead, with an eight-goal opening term, including four from returning defender-turned-forward Jarryd Swift.
Churchill gradually worked its way back into the game, getting within two goals in the second quarter and drawing level in the third, only for the Demons to kick away again on both occasions.
The pair traded blows throughout the final term and when Hamish Towns kicked his third goal to put Churchill seven points clear, the Cougars looked to have snatched victory. However, a Swift behind opened the door for McDonald to pinch back two points.
Swift finished with five goals, as did Corbin Sutherland, while first-year senior player Chris Coulthard impressed alongside proven performer Griffin Underwood.
Nic Campbell (three goals) played his best game for two months, with skipper Chris Williams and midfielder Dean Degroot Churchill’s most consistent contributors for the day.
Churchill remains the only side Yarram has not beaten since joining the league in 2014, but the draw assured the Demons a maiden North Gippsland finals berth.
Both sides are finding form at the right time and after the return of Swift, Trek Davis and Jack Moore against Churchill, Pettitt was looking forward to welcoming skipper Chris Bruns, Michael Pettitt and Jake Anderson back into the fold next week.