The Esperance Bulldogs all but assured themselves of second spot during their game against Newtown-Condingup on Saturday, July 20, with just three rounds remaining before finals.
Their two-point win over Newtown-Condingup was in the balance right up to the final siren, with late lead changes in what was a great match.
Both teams scored 2.3 in the opening term before Esperance dominated in the second quarter but, with some inaccuracy, had a return of 3 goals and 8 behinds to leave the door ajar for the final half.
Reece Griffiths was particularly inaccurate, finishing with 1 goal from 7 shots but was proving a handful at full forward.
Same Franzone was a driving force in the ruck and Jonah Symonds was in good touch in the centre of the ground.
In a startling turn around, Newtown-Condingup scored 6 goals to Esperance's 2 in the third term to go into the last change leading by a solitary point.
Courtney Burnett was again strong at the football and overhead and generally the movement by foot was exceptional from the Lions.
Craig Henderson, Jacob Oversby and Anthony Emsley were all prime movers in this area.
The final quarter saw the coaches do some shuffling to find that spark to get over the line.
Griffiths went into defence, Kaden Neill into attack and Rhys Wood went onto the ball but the goals came from Ryan Anthony and Todd Smith, with 3 apiece from the match.
For Newtown-Condingup, Nathan Wagenknecht was good around the ground with Alex McCallum and Cooper Bertola providing plenty of drive and the goals spread around evenly.
In the dying stages of the game, Esperance hit the front and an exhausted team managed to hang on to the final siren, despite Newtown-Condingup's frantic efforts to reply.
A great game by two desperate sides in slippery conditions kept the crowd on their toes right to the end.
Newtown-Condingup 4.7 (31 points) defeated Esperance 0.4 (4 points)
Best Newtown Condingup players:
Mitchell Greaves, Tyler Barnes, Paul Della Agostino, Will Brown, Tyler Barnes and Mackay Neale.
Best Esperance players:
Gus Ferguson, Rohan Hogg, Joel McKenzie, Brock Fraser, Ryan Neill and Stewart Kempton.