The Rams remain in the hunt for a Murray Football League finals berth after getting over the line by seven points against Congupna on Saturday.August 19, 2014 4:00am
The Deniliquin Rams staved off a desperate Congupna to stay in the race for a Murray Football League finals berth on Saturday.
Congupna kicked five final-quarter goals to cut the hosts’ lead to seven points, sending a massive scare though the Rams camp.
Deniliquin coach Troy Bartlett said there weren’t many highlights from the game.
‘‘We got the result we wanted, however the process needed some work,’’ he said.
‘‘It was probably the first time in six weeks that we expected to win and I think, as a playing group, our mindset was not correct. But I think it will be a good learning curve for us going forward.
‘‘At the end of the day we got a win and, although it was not our best, we got the four points.
‘‘We will do a review tomorrow night and then build strongly for Moama.’’
Despite the win the Rams will face their fourth straight week just outside of finals contention.
They are equal with third-placed Nathalia on 11 wins, but stranded in seventh spot with a lower percentage.
Final score: Deniliquin Rams 9.7 (61) def. Congupna 8.6 (54).
Deniliquin led at every change and was in control for most of the match until the last quarter.
Leading by five points at the first break the Rams drilled four second-quarter goals for a 22-point buffer at half-time.
The Road was held scoreless in the third as the hosts added 1.2 to the scoreboard.
Desperate to cause an upset, Congupna hit hard in the final quarter but were beaten by the siren.
Dashing forward/onballer Ash Morris was the Rams’ best and was also their major goalkicker with three.
Ruckman Anthony Bull, backmen Tom Dowling and Sam Callanan, and big forward Hayden Barker were also among the Rams’ best.
Congupna’s Tate Mifka provided plenty of run through the middle, while Joseph Dwyer stood his ground at centre half-back.
Daniel Collyer and Jess Cosaitis were The Road’s major goal-scorers with two each.
‘‘They play that (defensive game plan) really well and we were able to handle what they gave us,’’ Congupna coach Kevin O’Donoghue said.
‘‘We had a couple of costly turnovers that resulted in goals in the second quarter, but we did really well in stoppages and clearances.’’
O’Donoghue said it was ‘‘the year of nearlys’’ for his side, which sits on 10th spot with three wins.
‘‘I think we’ve lost about six games by less than two goals or so,’’ he said.
In a blow for the Rams, gun midfielder Todd Gallagher was yellow-carded and reported for engaging in rough conduct against Congupna’s Harry Moran in the third quarter.
The Rams will have their fingers crossed when Gallagher fronts the tribunal this week, with a must-win game against Moama in the final round this Saturday.
In the reserves, Ben Nisbet kicked five goals to lead the Rams to a 10.8 (68) to 4.4 (28) victory.
Jono Atley, Hugh Landale and Jake Cavallaro were Deniliquin’s other top players, while Cal Salter kicked two goals.
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