The two top sides in the Bendigo Football Netball League fought out a draw today at My Jet Oval.
Big things were expected from the clash between Gisborne and Golden Square, first and second respectively on the BFNL table, and both sides delivered.
Played at Golden Square's home ground – traditionally known as Wade Street Oval – the blue and gold of Square got away to an impressive start, banging on seven goals in the opening quarter with a strong breeze to their backs while holding Gisborne scoreless.
Gisborne coach Luke Saunders told his charges not to be too concerned with the score discrepancy at quarter time, and urged them to "use the ball and find open targets."
That they did, as the ladder-leading Bulldogs of red, white and blue worked their way back in to the contest in the second quarter, piling on six goals to two to go into half time with a 20-point deficit.
The first three goals for Gisborne were all created from free kicks given away by Golden Square players, as the side from down the Calder slammed home five unanswered goals in 10 minutes of play.
They broke even in the third quarter, Golden Square couldn't pull away, even with the breeze at their backs – both sides adding 3.2 to keep the margin at 20 points heading into the final change.
Square coach Mark Lloyd, who was not playing due to injury, implored that his side be first to the ball, highlighting the fact they have been strong in last quarters this year.
Gisborne came out firing however, Darren Farrugia kicking a goal within the first minute and a half of play to set the tone for a final quarter in which the first placed side kicked 5.5 to 2.3.
As the final quarter progressed, both sides had no shortage of opportunities to grasp a win.
Dale Lowry had a shot for Golden Square from 20 metres out at the 27-minute mark that sailed out of bounds on the full, with the home side trailing by a solitary point.
The siren went as Gisborne were progressing the ball up the ground with the score reading 14.10.94 apiece.
Golden Square spearhead Grant Weeks kicked four goals, but was well held by opponent Heath Simpson, while Matt Knox Kicked three for Gisborne.
Gisborne midfielder Scott Walsh said after the game "I'm not sure how to feel after a draw, we did well to fight back but it's a weird feeling."
Whilst this was unfolding, another nailbiter was being played at Princes Park between the finals-bound Strathfieldsaye Storm and Maryborough.
Strathfieldsaye led by two points at three quarter time, but Maryborough added a behind with only seconds to play to secure a win over the Storm, their fifth of season 2012.
Strathfieldsaye slipped back to fifth position after the loss, the second time they have been felled by Maryborough late in the season.
The Magpies also defeated Strathfieldsaye in round 18 last season, knocking the Storm out of finals contention.
In other round 17 BFNL action; Eaglehawk defeated Kangaroo Flat by 32 points, Sandhurst were 22-point victors over Kyneton and South Bendigo also recorded a 22 point win, over Castlemaine.