Ballantyne miss hands victory to Eagles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ballantyne miss hands victory to Eagles

By Justin Chadwick 24/07/2011 09:26:21 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle coach Mark Harvey was far from a heartbroken man despite watching his side slump to a costly one-point AFL loss to arch rivals West Coast after Hayden Ballantyne hit the post after the final siren.

The Dockers looked dead and buried when Luke Shuey's goal midway through the final quarter put the Eagles up by 22 points.

But Fremantle came storming back into the contest, with goals to Stephen Hill, Chris Mayne and Nat Fyfe closing the gap to two points in a frantic finish.

Ballantyne had the chance to win it when Matt Rosa was controversially pinged for deliberate out-of-bounds in the dying seconds of the contest.

But Ballantyne's kick from 52m out hit the padding on the far goalpost, with celebrations from Fremantle players believing the kick went through for a goal not fooling the goal umpire.

The loss could prove to be costly for the seventh-placed Dockers, who are now just two points ahead of eighth-placed St Kilda and ninth-placed Essendon as the race for finals spots heats up.

But rather than bemoaning the agonising circumstances surrounding the loss and the potential ramifications, Harvey took heart from his team's never-give-up attitude.

"No (it wasn't the most heartbreaking loss I've experienced), in fact the exact opposite to that," Harvey said.

"I thought they were gallant. I thought whatever they (had), they gave."

Harvey had mixed emotions surrounding Ballantyne's miss.

"My first immediate thought was it's going to be hard to kick a goal from that far out," Harvey said.

"I was expecting perhaps he might have tried to torpedo it, but you know you're in the hands of the gods at what the player's thinking at that particular stage.

"I mean the reality is if you find yourself in the situation where you need to kick the winning goal, you need to.

"But sometimes it's beyond your reach at that stage. If it had have been 30m or 40m out, it might have been a bit different."

West Coast coach John Worsfold, who booted 37 goals in 209 games for the Eagles as a no-nonsense defender, said he would have handled the match-winning shot on goal differently.

"I thought it was going to have to be a real good kick and when it started to go to the other goal post I didn't think it was going to have the legs," Worsfold said, before joking: "It had to be (directed) to the close goal post. That's where I would have put it."

Eagles forward Josh Kennedy booted 3.4 and young midfielder Shuey was scintillating with 26 possessions and a goal, but ruckman Dean Cox took home the Ross Glendinning medal as best afield with 22 possessions and 42 hit-outs.

The Dockers lost ruckman Jonathon Griffin to a suspected hip injury midway through the third quarter, but Zac Clarke battled manfully against Cox and Nic Naitanui.

Along with Griffin's injury, the Dockers will be sweating on Luke McPharlin's forearm to the head of Kennedy as the pair competed for a loose ball.

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