HEATHCOTE Football Netball Club hosted White Hills on Saturday and played in front of the Saints’ premiership teams of 1989 and 2009, who had returned for their reunions.
It was an overcast day and the ground was heavy from rain but desperate play from both teams saw the game descend into a dour contest.
Unlike the last time the two sides played earlier in the season, it was the Demons who took the initiative in the first term on Saturday, kicking five goals to two.
Heathcote’s players were desperate at the contest but the ability of the White Hills stars to get the ball out for their runners figured as a key factor.
The second half proved to be more of the same but the continued defensive efforts of the Saints’ back six prevented the Demons from taking full advantage of their work.
Just the same, White Hills went into the half-time break with a 34-point advantage and there was a chance of a blowout if the Saints started slowly in the second half.
Louis Piccolo had been outstanding in the first half, not allowing the Demons to run away with an easy possession, and bringing them to the ground with bone-rattling tackles.
When Louis has a target in sight he is like a guided missile and on more than one occasion he laid multiple tackles at scrimmages.
Tom Pain’s work around the packs had provided the Saints with plenty of drive and ensured the team’s forwards were provided with opportunities.
Unfortunately in the first half, the White Hills defence was too accomplished and the Saints only had three goals to show for their efforts.
Much has been said in recent times about the third quarters of Heathcote, but on Saturday the Saints gave critics plenty to think about as White Hills were put under pressure.
With Codie Price and Dylan Robinson working hard all over the ground, the Saints as a team lifted and suddenly it was the Demons who looked panicked.
Early goals reduced the margin but the Demons settled and still held a 27-point advantage at the final break.
In the end the class of the Demons key players saw them finish the match with a 33-point win but the Saints had given them plenty to think about.
Kai Cavallaro returned to his dashing best and he often set up forward moves with long runs through the centre corridor.
Alex McIvor had been a late call-up after Brad Morgan had withdrawn and he grasped his opportunity with both hands. He presented and provided the team with a forward option and he was in the thick of the contest.
It was another solid effort by the Saints, who now have found the ability to score more consistently in games.
More importantly for coach Wayne Primmer and his panel, the young Saints are running their games out which is great for the future.