Edenhope-Apsley inflicted Swifts’ first loss of the season and put their name in the ring as serious finals contenders on Saturday.
The Saints ran over the top of the Baggies on their home ground of North Park, coming away with a 13.18 (96) to 8.6 (54) win.
On what was meant to be a day of celebration for Swifts fans, they were left bittersweet after seeing coach Scott Carey chaired off to celebrate his 200th match.
The match shaped up to be a tight one early on, with both sides exchanging goal for goal, unable to break away. Clean ball movement and damaging forward 50 entries saw the Saints take a crucial lead into the half-time break.
Despite dominating for most of the third term, the Stawell-based side was unable to cut the margin down, trailing by 19 points heading into the final term.
Edenhope-Apsley coach Chris Oliver admitted fitness has been an issue for his team in the first few rounds of the season, but his team piled on three unanswered goals in the fourth quarter to run away with a 42-point win.
“Playing on a big ground like this I thought fitness was going to be difficult for us. The boys really proved themselves today and played some smart footy,” Oliver said.
The win is the Saints’ second of the season, after defeating fellow final contenders Natimuk United last weekend.
“If we can keep up how we have been playing I think we will be hard to beat,” Oliver said. “The way we moved the ball and entered our 50 today was very pleasing.”
The match was not without incident, with Swifts’ Angus Murray sent off with a yellow card for his involvement in a melee late in the fourth quarter.
“It is definitely concerning because we’re not about that one bit,” Swifts coach Scott Carey said.
“There was probably just some built up frustration about how things weren’t going our way.”
The Baggies were outplayed in most facets of the game, with a lack of pressure resulting in the domination.
“We didn’t put enough pressure on the ball carrier,” Carey said.
“Maybe the occasion got to us and we wanted to attack and kick a winning score and forgot about the defensive side of the game which Edenhope capitalised on.”
Swifts’ Ben Martin missed the final quarter of the match with a recurring foot injury while Saints’ Bernie Kealy was seen limping from the ground in the hands of the trainers.
Despite losing the match, Carey said it was an “honour” to run through the banner and be chaired off for his 200th game.
“For me footy has only ever been about getting the chance to play with a great bunch of blokes,” he said.
“I obviously felt a whole lot of support which is greatly appreciated from the club that means so much to me.”