The inclusions of star forwards Aidan Fraser and Jed Kemp gave Busselton to boost it needed to claim its first away win of the season against the Harvey Bulls on Saturday evening.
The pair, who both missed the last three games with injury, returned to action with six goals between them as the Magpies claimed a 42-point win over the Bulls.
Kemp and Fraser got into the action early, with both converting set shots to kick Busselton’s first two goals, either side of a long-range goal from Harvey’s Jaxon Egan.
The sides continued to go goal-for-goal throughout the remainder of the first term, as both teams moved the ball quickly through their respective midfields.
Harvey’s Joshua Krispyn brought the margin back within a goal with another set shot goal, before Kemp lined up his second of the day.
Jacob Pickett kicked Harvey’s third late in the term, giving Busselton just a one-point lead at quarter time in a game that looked destined to become a shootout.
It looked to be headed that way when Matt Welburn kicked Busselton’s fourth goal of the game within the opening two minutes of the second quarter with a floater that somehow made it through the big sticks.
But it didn’t pan out that way as the teams spent the next 10 minutes rebounding the ball from end to end without kicking a goal.
The Magpies had several chances, but some inaccurate shots at goal meant the they couldn’t push the margin into double digits.
It took a Reece Blechynden mark on the wing and two 50-metre penalties, the second for umpire abuse, for the Bulls to finally add another goal late in the term.
The goal brought the Bulls back to just three points down as the siren went for half time, with neither team fully in control.
It looked like the Bulls were going to be the team to stand up when they took the first centre clearance of the second half and got the ball into the hands of key forward Ryan Nye within the first minute or so.
Nye made no mistake and gave the Bulls the lead for the first time all game, but it was shortlived as the Magpies kicked into gear.
Utilising a quick ball movement game plan with lots of handballs and short kicks, the Magpies found free players all over the ground and began to pile on the pressure.
It wasn’t long before Busselton retook the lead when Mitch Tenardi kicked truly from outside the 50 metre arc and jut a few minutes later the Magpies had two more, through Reegan Mrsich and Kemp.
Ethan Bowman then chipped in with a goal make it four unanswered majors for the Magpies and it could have been five just moments later if not for Kyle Hickman’s diving effort to touch the ball before it crossed the line.
Magpies fans only had to wait a couple of minutes to see the fifth goal though as Mrsich kicked his second before Welburn took a strong mark on the lead and made it six.
The Bulls had no answer for the Magpies’ ball movement and barely made it into their forward half throughout the quarter as Busselton went into the final break with a 36-point lead.
The final quarter started in much the same fashion as the third, with Ryan Nye proving too strong for direct opponent Cameron Embry and pegging one back for Harvey within minutes of play restarting.
But it didn’t last long as seconds later, the Magpies broke out of the centre bounce with the clearance and Welburn launched a beautiful kick from outside the 50 metre arc for a goal.
Some strong marking and smart play from captain Aidan Fraser led to two more quick goals for the Magpies and brought his tally up to three for the game.
With the game in danger of getting out of hand for the Bulls, Nye was the sole shining light up forward and was rewarded with his third goal of the game after laying a crunching tackle in front of goal.
Welburn kicked his fourth not long later after intercepting a shocking kick-out and not to be outdone, Nye also kicked his fourth from a set shot just before the final siren sounded on the Bulls’ 8.7 (55) to 14.13 (97) defeat.
Busselton coach Steve Lester said he was pleased the Magpies had found a way to win after a ‘difficult month’, in which the team had lost three straight.
“We played with a bit more belief than we showed over the last few weeks,” he said.
“Some of our passages of play were really exciting to watch and our guys enjoy playing like that.
“If we can bring more of that consistently, we’ll get some more opportunities to win games of footy.”
Lester said the challenge for the team would be to show the same level of skill and commitment next week, when it hosts Bunbury.
“That will be the challenge for us now – to back up performances week-to-week, which we haven’t be able to do up to this point,” he said.
“But next week we’ll go in with a bit more confidence … We really needed to get the win because it’s a crucial time for us in where we’re at this season – it keeps our finals hopes alive.”
Harvey Bulls coach Brendon Jones said Busselton ‘went to another level’ in the second half.
“We started pretty well and were three points down at half time, so we thought we were in the game,” he said.
“But then we probably let ourselves down in the third quarter and Busselton were able to counter on their run and spread.”
Jones said the Bulls were looking forward to redeeming themselves next week when they travel to Carey Park.
“We’ll regroup this week. It’s an important game before the bye, so we’ll give it everything,” he said.
“We’ve got a fairly young group, so we’ve just got to keep working on trying to move the footy quick and hopefully it works out.”