Despite leading for most of the day, the Deni Rovers were unable to score their second win of the season on Saturday.July 15, 2014 3:55am
Mathoura had to dig deep to record its third win of the Picola & District Football League season on Saturday, defeating bottom-placed Deni Rovers by 13 points.
The result was in doubt for most of the match and was a far cry from the Timbercutters’ 106-point win over Deni earlier in the year.
The Roos had plenty of opportunities to build a strong lead, kicking seven behinds in the third term before Mathoura kicked three final-quarter goals to steal the win.
A smoking ceremony marked NAIDOC Week before the start of the match, adding further to the atmosphere.
Both clubs’ seniors and reserves teams lined up as Shane Charles performed the ceremony, while two Mathoura indigenous players with the aboriginal flag walked the smoke up and down the line.
Final score: Mathoura 8.14 (62) def. Deni Rovers 6.15 (51).
With breezy conditions affecting the fluidity of the game, the visiting Rovers started well to kick 3.6 for an 11-point first-quarter lead.
The home team responded to level the scores at half-time, before a goalless quarter ensued.
The Rovers would live to rue their missed chances in that term, kicking seven behinds to two and only led by five points at the last break.
The Timbercutters then went on to kick three goals to one and secure the 13-point win.
Mathoura coach Mick McInnes said it was a pretty stressful match from a coaching point of view.
‘‘It was close all day,’’ he said.
‘‘Last time we beat them by 100 but we knew they were getting better and had a win last week, but I still thought we’d beat them by a bit more.’’
The coach said the windy conditions made it pretty difficult for both teams to score.
‘‘It was just good to get away with the win,’’ McInnes said.
‘‘Both teams were pretty hard at it.
‘‘You don’t like to lose, but when you’re playing a side below on the ladder you really don’t want to lose.
‘‘It’s important to keep winning and hopefully we get a couple more by the end of the season.’’
McInnes said Andrew Mortimer’s game off the half-back flank, especially early in the game when Deni had the wind, was probably his best for the club, while Wayne Phyland was also good in defence.
Beau Duggan-Hulands (three goals) and Damian Dalziel (two goals) were focal points up forward, with Dalziel taking many marks at half-forward and having a stint in the ruck as well.
Dan Gretgrix and Matt Nunan also played well when dropped back into defence in the second half, while Nick Tucker (three goals) was the only other Mathoura goal-kicker.
Rovers coach Luke Moodie said he was disappointed with the end result, particularly because the side didn’t make the most of its opportunities.
‘‘It’s sort of mixed feelings because you’re happy to be in the game and competitive, but for me personally it was probably more disappointing than some of the 200-point losses,’’ Moodie said.
‘‘Before the match we addressed the fact we couldn’t afford to make many unforced errors, but it was our worst game in that area since we started keeping stats.
‘‘We knew what needed to be done and didn’t do it.’’
Hard-running midfielder Rhys McCulloch was the Rovers’ standout player in his second game for the season.
He led the side in clearances and inside 50s, and brought the touch of class the Roos have been missing.
Marc Braybon worked hard in the ruck for three quarters, while Matt Dowling, Jordy McCulloch and Liam Zeschke impressed the coach.
A positive for the Roos was experienced backman Matt Horne playing his first game since round three, but fellow defender Ricky Hobbs was forced off the ground with a hamstring injury late in the game.
Mathoura’s reserves held on to second spot on the ladder after a big 16.12 (108) to 2.2 (14) win.
The Timbercutters only led by nine points at the first break, but 11 goals to one in the next two terms sealed the result.
Jamie Shields, Brian North and Dion Winter were the most impressive for the home side, while Darren Kirby (six goals) and Jarrod Davies (three goals) led the forward line.
The Rovers were best served by Bryce Burgess, Brendan East and George Trewhitt.
The win was Mathoura’s ninth for the season and has them sitting equal on points with third-placed Jerilderie and three games behind undefeated Strathmerton.
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