ELTHAM added another twist to the Division 1 relegation battle after recording a memorable come-from-behind victory over Hurstbridge on Saturday.
Trailing by 24 points at three-quarter-time, the Panthers rallied in the final quarter to kick five unanswered goals with the breeze and record a three-point win, giving their hopes of avoiding demotion a much-needed boost.
Eltham hit the front for the first time in the match with 29 seconds left on the clock when Jesse Freeman was given a free kick and subsequent 50m penalty, nailing the set shot from 40m out to seal a 12.7 (79) to 10.16 (76) win.
The result drew the Panthers level with Whittlesea at 4-11 with three rounds remaining, occupying the drop zone on percentage.
Adding to the relegation intrigue was Montmorency’s 106-point hiding at the hands of Bundoora on Sunday.
The Magpies have dropped nine of their past 11 games to sit just one game and percentage clear of the bottom two.
Eltham has fixtures against Greensborough and Heidelberg before a Round 18 clash against Whittlesea, which shapes as a relegation decider.
Eltham coach Paul King said the weekend’s heart-stopping triumph gave his side hope it could avoid relegation.
“We had 28 tackles in the last quarter, they just pressured really hard and started to use the footy a bit better and hitting our targets,” King said.
“It gives us a lot of hope but our destiny is in our own hands. It would be nice to get another win before we play Whittlesea and then beat Whittlesea in the last game, hopefully.”
King praised the efforts of captain Josh Merkel and Lewis Glasgow, while Brandon Freeman was influential up forward with four goals.
“In certain games we haven’t worked hard enough for long enough and on the weekend it was pretty desperate stuff at three-quarter time,” he said.
“We knew what it meant to us and we responded.”
The Panthers will regain Gavan Connelly (calf) this weekend, Rohan King has another week to serve on a striking suspension, while Marcellin premiership player Daniel Horsfield could come into the selection mix.