Sandringham needed a circuit breaker to restore life into their season.
And that’s exactly what they got on Sunday at Trevor Barker Oval.
Facing a strong Dandenong line-up, who had key faces returning and looking to steal the four points away from home, it was the Dragons who threw the first punch and maintained their intensity to take a 10.9 (69) to 9.8 (62) victory.
With the aid of a strong wind, Sandringham kicked five goals in each of the first and third terms, leaving the Stingrays with plenty of work to do in the final quarter.
But work they did, storming back into the contest on the back of two massive goals from captain Hayden Young to raise tension levels, before the home side held their composure to run out winners.
Dragons coach Josh Bourke was delighted with the response he got from the playing group following a tough patch of form, and said competition for spots is now high.
“When we have good effort and when we care for eachother we can seriously play,” he said to the players post-match.
“Other than the 30 people in the room on Thursday night, no one thought we were good enough. No one thought we were good enough.
“We’ve put a marker in the sand for the rest of the year. The other thing we’ve done is that with some of you we now have to have a really good think about (your place in the team), which is a credit to you. You’ve made our jobs over the next two or three weeks really, really difficult and that’s all you can do.
“I hope you walk away and learn that with 100 per cent effort and care for eachother that you guys can really play footy. Just hold onto that because it’s really important. Effort is king.”
The star of the show for Sandringham was wingman Angus Hanrahan, returning after representing the Sandringham Zebras in the VFL.
Hanrahan ran all day and showed elite composure throughout, gathering plenty of the footy and using it with precision.
Assistant coach Jackson Kornberg was impressed with the 35-disposal, 14-mark effort.
“It was probably Gus’s best game for the year,” he said.
“Offensively, to have 35 possessions and a goal is a really super return for him coming back from VFL football.
“Two things most pleasing about his game were probably his balance with his contested ball and his uncontested ball. He really showed that he could be strong over his ground ball and win some contested possessions around stoppage and around the ground.
“Probably secondly and most pleasing were his rebound 50 numbers, he had eight rebound 50s, and as a team we had 34 so to have a significant amount of rebounds shows his work rate and ability to get back defensively and help the backs out which has been a strong focus of Gus’s for the last month or two – showing everyone that he can get back and defend strongly as well as he does offensively.”
Fischer McAsey, who has spent the majority of 2019 as a key defender, was swung forward with great impact.
The tall kicked three goals and took 10 marks from 19 possessions.
Lloyd, Bergman, Milne and Byrnes rounded out the best performers.
Sandringham’s first interstate trip in years arrives on Saturday as they head to Tasmania to face the Devils.
Goal Kickers: F. McAsey 3, J. Bowey, K. Yorke, M. Bergman, A. Hanrahan, L. Carrigan, B. Krongold, T. Murray Best Players: A. Hanrahan, J. Lloyd, F. McAsey, M. Bergman, T. Milne, R. Byrnes