Devils on the board

Ben Chisholm. (Ljubica Vrankovic) 333186_73

Tara Murray

Keilor Park may have had more than 30 players unavailable and had to forfeit its reserves on Saturday, but it meant little as its senior side got its first win of the Essendon District Football League division 1 season.

It’s been tough going for the Devils this season with injuries and unavailability having an impact on the team they could put on the park.

On Saturday, the Devils managed to find a way to hold their nerve to beat Roxburgh Park.

For Devils coach Leigh Coles there were plenty of mixed emotions.

He said they had stuck with the task all season.

“The monkey is off the back,” he said. “We had 32 players out on the weekend.

“We had two players playing seniors who had never played seniors before. We had a few playing their second and third senior games.

“It’s good for the club and trying to retain them for the future. It’s a good club to be around.”

Coles said he had never seen the amount of injuries they’ve had in one go in his time in football.

He said it had really impacted the ability of him and assistant coach Colby Blyth to put in structures and a game plan they wanted to implement.

He said it had taken its toll at times.

Despite missing so many players, the Devils entered the match with the Magpies full of confidence.

The first time the two teams met, the Magpies won by five points.

This time the match was close for most of the match.

The Devils led by 11 points heading into the final break.

Coles said there were a few nerves in the final quarter, especially when the Magpies kicked the first two goals of the final quarter to hit the lead.

“We had 12 different players from the last time we played them,” he said. “Both sides had some players out.

“When they hit the front in the last quarter we were hoping that old habits wouldn’t creep in.

“We were able to stick to the plan and knuckled down and kick some late goals to come away with the win.

Nicholas Spano kicked four goals for the Devils.

Coles said captain Daylan Kempster was a standout all day, leading from the front.

Michael Gatt was one of their better midfielders and helped move the ball between the arcs.

The Devils remain in bottom spot but are not only a game behind Rupertswood and Moonee Valley in the relegation race.

The bottom two teams will be relegated at season’s end.

The Devils this week face Rupertswood.

Coles said you never say never in whether the team could possibly avoid relegation.

“We’ve got another opportunity against Rupertswood,” he said. “We go there and believe if we can put our best foot forward we are a chance.

“Hopefully the boys take this feeling into next week.”

In other matches, Hillside beat St Albans, 15.6 (96)-10.7 (67).