THERE was plenty on the line in this re-match of the 2016 grand final.
It was an exciting game at Joe Brown Oval with both sides utilising their pace out of defence, combined with immense tackling pressure.
Abers uncharacteristically caused turnovers early with an astonishing 39 in the first half, allowing Keilor to start quickly with the first goal.
The rain was on and off but Aberfeldie’s Joel Madden and Jayden Foster made it look like a dry day with their contested marking.
Winning in the air, Abers was happy to take risks through the middle of the ground, hitting up 45-degree kicks all day with flashy play.
This type of play set up countless forward entries for the away side but Keilor’s experienced defence stood in the way of Abers gaining a big lead through the first three quarters.
This defence was led by Mick James, who seemed to always read the play a step ahead of his opponent, taking numerous intercept marks.
The midfield match-up of Aberfeldie’s Zac Hislop up against Keilor’s Zak Wunhym had fans licking their lips.
Both gained clearance after clearance for their side and burst out of many congested situations.
In the wet conditions Keilor made it even harder for Aberfeldie’s forward line, flooding it all day and using pace back towards goal on the counter attack.
Making the most of these counter attacks was Dean Galea, using his strength and speed to take leading marks forward and finish with three majors.
Keilor seemed to be playing the way Aberfeldie usually would, playing on at all costs and using run off half back to catapult forward, helping the home side to a 17-point lead at the last break.
Tough body-on-body contests all around the ground meant goals were hard to come by.
But Abers wanted to change that as Keilor’s injuries began to mount, leaving them with no bench in the final term.
Two quick goals in the first three minutes for Aberfeldie had the local fans quite worried.
Building all game, Keilor’s Kane Barbuto was a highlight in the final term and was classy by foot, awakening the crowd with a lead-gaining goal late.
Yet, the pure class and overall fitness of Aberfeldie shone through when it mattered.
Skipper Luke Blackwell could do nothing wrong in the clutch.
With multiple clearances, intercept marks on the forward wall trap and two final term goals, he led his side to a huge finish.
Aberfeldie, with only seven goals through the first three quarters, had a massive last quarter, kicking seven more to Keilor's two.
After struggling in numerous close games earlier in the year, Abers was able to re-establish some of its confidence with an 18-point win.
Goal Kickers: M. Clark 3, D. Galea 3, K. Barbuto, J. Papalia, K. Bell
Best Players: K. Barbuto, M. James, N. O’Kearney, B. Iles, Z. Wunhym, J. White
Goal Kickers: L. Blackwell 5, J. Foster 2, J. Rush 2, J. Barrett, C. Hislop, J. Pound
Best Players: L. Blackwell, C. Johns, Z. Hislop, L. Davis, N. Cattapan, C. Hislop