STARFISH CAPTURE FLAG IN 120-114 THRILLER

STARFISH CAPTURE FLAG IN 120-114 THRILLER

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Clint Jones’ supergoal inside two minutes helped Starfish FC come from behind to defeat the St. Petersburg Swans in Saturday’s Major League Footy 2018 Summer Championship Final, 120-114. PHOTO: KATE MATSON

A Clint Jones supergoal inside two minutes helped complete the comeback bid, pushing Starfish FC across the finish in a 120-114 nail-biter over the St. Petersburg Swans in the 2018 Major League Footy Summer Premiership Season Championship Final.

Played in extreme heat – the game time ‘feels-like’ temperature was 108 F – the thriller saw explosive offense from the first-ball up, with the Swans eking out a 5-minute margin at the first break.

With Tom Mathew, Clint Jones and Austen Kugler asserting control of the midfield play in the second stanza, the ‘Fish capitalized on two 10-pointers in the frame to stake a 74-50 lead at the big break.

The third period return of Swans’ Queensland gun Ben McIntosh, forced to sit out the second quarter with an injury, reinvigorated a St. Petersburg attack.

Two McIntosh supergoals highlighted a 42-point outburst for St. Petersburg in the frame, but it was a pair of missed opportunities that would come back to haunt the Swans.

The first – a stalwart defensive stand that turned away a prolonged stretch of intense pressure directly in front of the Starfish goal – was eventually rerouted by Mathew and backliner Jeff Grubb.

A second stand again saw Mathew and Grubb turn away a golden opportunity for St. Petersburg to increase its lead in the quarter, resulting in a Speller major to keep the Starfish within striking range.

Beginning the fourth quarter up 92-85, the Swans maintained a furious attack, and seemed to put the proceedings to an end before McIntosh was forced to the sideline again with St. Petersburg in front, 103-88.

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Austen Kugler boosted an explosive Starfish FC offense in the second term. PHOTO: KATE MATSON

The last ten minutes would see points come in bunches, as both sides moved up and down the ground at will.

Jones’ supergoal from just outside the 40-yard line knotted the affair at 108 just inside two minutes, but the Swans quickly retaking the lead on a Kyle Roun major.

A Mathew major again leveled the score at 114 before Jones’ iced it with his second score in the game’s waning moments.

Having limped into the second half of the 2018 Major League Footy Premiership Season with a 1-4 mark, Starfish FC seemed more likely for the Spoon than the Flag.

A four-game win streak got them to the Preliminary, where they turned away a Tampa Bay Bombers side that stood at 6-2 going in.

It was their sixth win on the trot that mattered most.

And, as is often the case in any code of football, a key defensive stand – even in a match that saw the sides combine for 234 points – set the table for a Championship.

The ‘Fish can now take time to reflect on their run to the flag, but not for long – Starfish FC will meet the Swans in a rematch October 27, as Major League Footy pivots to an October-March regular season slate.

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