Whoever is writing the scripts for the Northern Jets is doing their best to get a job in Hollywood.
Led by a pair of two-time premiership players celebrating their 200th games, the Jets brought an end to The Rock-Yerong Creek’s bid for back-to-back flags with a heart-stopping semi-final victory at Gumly Oval on Saturday.
It took until the last minute of their second sudden-death final for the Jets to land their first win over a top three side this season.
There’s no better time to arrive. And, it turns out, no better man to get you there than Mitch Haddrill.
The 10.10 (70) to 9.10 (64) victory put the Jets’ into just their second preliminary final since their last premiership in 2007.
And TRYC made them earn it, throwing everything into a desperate last quarter effort to level the scores with just a minute on the clock.
With extra time looming, and having been under pressure for most of the last quarter, the Jets worked the ball from half-back into their forward 50, where the star midfielder was waiting.
“Mitch Haddrill standing up at the end,” Jets co-coach Darren Jackson said.
“Just to read the game and say, well, I better get down here and kick a goal and win the game.
“And what does he do?”
Spoiler alert: he wins the game. But it wasn’t a one-man show.
Midfielder Chris Bell and ruckman Andrew Bonny wound back the clock with vintage performances. They were on from the opening bounce in their milestone match, helping the Jets take momentum and a nine-point lead to the first break.
Some early misses threatened to be costly with TRYC star Andy Carey kicking four straight goals by the 10th minute of the second quarter to put the Pies in front.
The lead changed seven times in the first 40 minutes of football but the Jets held a 10-point advantage at half-time. They then had the better opportunities in the third term but kicked just two goals, 23 minutes apart.
Carey’s fifth kept the reigning premiers within three goals at the last change and they launched a last-ditch bid to try to save their season.
However, wayward kicking hurt while a great goal from young gun Mitch Maguire gave the Jets breathing space.
Then, after piling on the pressure, two TRYC goals in four minutes – to Tim Mathieson and Todd Hannam – levelled scores with a minute to play, until Haddrill’s heroics.
“Unbelievable for everyone to pull that effort out,” Jets co-coach Sam Fisher said. He carried a calf injury into the game and played deep forward but is confident he’ll be right for next week’s preliminary final.
And the Jets are learning with every win.
“We life to fight another week and see what happens,” Jackson said.