"IT'S one win but given what this footy club has endured over the last 12 months it's one to savour. Proud and happy for everyone who is connected in some way to the Ants."

Sometimes home-and-away victories can be just as important – and almost as enjoyable – as winning a premiership.

A big call, sure, but for everybody involved with the Northern Bullants, Sunday’s 32-point VFL triumph over Carlton at Preston City Oval fitted the bill, and coach Josh Fraser’s tweet above shows it was about much, much more than just four premiership points.

Preston Football Club’s 138 years of history was on the brink in March 2020 after Carlton ended their alignment, so for the Bullants to not only survive but convincingly beat the Blues is a story that movies have been made from.

Buoyed by a late fightback against Frankston last week, the Bullants gained confidence from sticking with Carlton early, going into the quarter-time break seven points down, and they got a sniff when heart-and-soul skipper Tom Wilson levelled the scores early in the second term.

Three times Carlton regained the lead and three times the home team responded within minutes, going into into half-time five points up and cock-a-hoop on the back of Tynan Smith’s third goal.

Paul Ahern helped stretch the lead to 13 and despite Corey Durdin bringing the Blues back within six, something clicked that said this was going to be a red and white day.

The Bullants had 11 of the next 12 scoring shots and led by 42 points when Matthew King kicked truly entering time-on of the final quarter, and while Carlton did boot the last two majors, the Ants were already in party mode and everybody involved in the club was in the circle to belt out the loudest song heard from the Preston rooms in many years.

12:00 Mins
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VFL Mini-Match: Northern Bullants v Carlton

Extended highlights of the round 11 VFL clash between Northern Bullants and Carlton

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Daniel Hughes was terrific in the ruck for the Bullants with 33 hitouts, providing first use to William Mitchell (28), Wilson (23, two goals), Billy Murphy (21, two goals) and Kye Quirk (21), while Smith was a matchwinner with seven marks and four goals.

Sam Ramsay (29) and James Parson (27) were best for the Blues, while Toby Wooller kicked three goals, but they missed a golden opportunity to enter the top eight.

Williamstown retained the Johnson-Callahan Cup when it powered away from Port Melbourne to win by 37 points at ETU Stadium.

A woeful display of goalkicking saw the score at 0.7 to 0.5, until Harvey Hooper slotted the hardest shot of the lot from the boundary after 25 minutes to give the Borough an eight-point lead at the first break as tempers boiled over.

Seagull Daly Andrews was doubled over in Port’s forward line for several minutes before Borough star Corey Wagner was clattered by a late bump on the siren and almost every player got involved in the skirmish.

It sparked Williamstown to life as Nick Rodda kicked his side's first goal early in the second and the Seagulls kicked the next nine to get out by as much as 48 points.

Rodda (four goals) marked everything in his first game since these two clubs' previous meeting in round three, while at the other end Port couldn’t find a way through Charlie Dean (11 marks), Jack Leslie and Harry Macreadie, with Teia Miles and Jake Greiser providing the springboard off half-back and Darby Henderson putting in one of his best VFL games.

The Borough kicked the last three goals of the third quarter after Declan Watson was shifted forward, with Anthony Anastasio providing dash, Nash Holmes and Wagner working hard and 100-gamer Eli Templeton, skipper Tom O’Sullivan and backman Perry Lewis-Smith refusing to concede.

11:58 Mins
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VFL Mini-Match: Port Melbourne v Williamstown

Extended highlights of the round 11 VFL clash between Port Melbourne and Williamstown

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But Williamstown snuffed out the rally with the first three goals of the last term to claim its fourth win (and a draw) from their past five clashes.

Ben Brown returned to form with five goals as the Casey Demons wore Essendon down by 48 points at Casey Fields.

Brown took eight marks and had 14 kicks to cap off the dominance of Melbourne legend Nathan Jones, who turned back the clock with 36 disposals, 11 clearances, six tackles and a goal to also remind Simon Goodwin of his presence.

Essendon hit the lead midway through the third term, but Casey responded with 6.6 unanswered across the next 30 minutes.

Aaron Vandenberg impressed with 28 disposals and seven tackles in his first game since a quad injury in April, while Jake Bowey and Jake Melksham were also good and Sam Weideman pulled in 11 marks as a second ruckman, but kicked 1.3.

12:08 Mins
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VFL Mini-Match: Casey v Essendon

Extended highlights of the round 11 VFL clash between Casey and Essendon

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Nick O’Kearney was the Bombers’ best with 28 touches and eight marks, while Tom Cutler (35) and Joe Atley (28) won plenty of the ball and David Zaharakis found some touch with 27 disposals.

Son of a gun Tom Hird had his best game as a Bomber with 20 disposals and a goal.

GWS made the most of an undermanned Sydney to win by 38 points at the Holden Centre.

With the Swans leaving most of their VFL players in Sydney last week, they needed 13 Vic Country NAB Leaguers to field a team.

Tom Green (35) and Xavier O’Halloran (26) took full toll for GWS and Jake Riccardi kicked 3.4, while Callum Sinclair was best on ground for the Swans with 25 disposals, six marks, 45 hitouts and a goal, feeding Lewis Taylor (32, two goals) and Ryan Clarke (30).

Twitter: @BRhodesVFL

Casey Demons 13.14 (92) def Essendon 6.8 (44) (Match Centre)
Northern Bullants 14.16 (100) def Carlton 10.8 (68) (Match Centre)
Port Melbourne 6.14 (50) lost to Williamstown 12.15 (87) (Match Centre)
GWS Giants 13.15 (93) def Sydney 8.7 (55) (Match Centre)

North Melbourne 14.4 (88) def Werribee 12.11 (83) (Match Centre)
Coburg 7.10 (52) lost to Footscray 13.6 (84) (Match Centre)
Collingwood 16.8 (104) def Frankston 9.11 (65) (Match Centre)
Box Hill Hawks 15.19 (109) def Aspley 7.5 (47) (Match Centre)
Sandringham 14.12 (96) def Richmond 10.6 (66) (Match Centre)

Brisbane Lions 8.6 (54) lost to Geelong 26.16 (172) (Match Centre)

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