Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Cats slide to narrow win

Muddy conditions no barrier for LBU as they defeated Colbinabbin by six points.

GEORDIE COWAN June 17, 2014 3:34am

Players endured a muddy day at Colbinabbin on Tuesday. Tim Hill and Nathan Bacon battle for the ball.


Lockington-Bamawm United’s running game was not to be seen on Saturday.

Indeed, there was not much running at all. But there was a lot of sliding.

In conditions not seen since the 2010 Heathcote and District Football League grand final, which was also played at Colbinabbin’s MJ Morgan Reserve, LBU overcame the Grasshoppers 6.6 (42) to 5.6 (36) in what can only be described as tough conditions for football.

The ground was reportedly in perfect condition on Thursday night, but about 45mm of rain in the next 36 hours saw it turned into a mud pit.

The earlier reserves game, in which a total of 10 goals were kicked, set an indicator of what sort of match was to be expected.

The first few minutes of each quarter were vital, as the teams tried to make the most of the relatively dry ball.

Both sides struggled to gain clean possession throughout the day, with most kicks either off the ground or hurriedly thrown onto the boot, where they would travel a short distance before sloughing to a stop in the mud.

Ruckmen Chris Hudson and Hadleigh Sirett were their teams’ respective best players on a tough day, while Ady Dohnt and John Halloran played important games for the Cats.

Nathan Bacon was also constantly busy around the packs, while young Gavin Broad and half-back Nathan O’Brien played good games.

Jonathon Hay played the full game in the forward line and while his one set shot for the day was lacking, he could be relied upon to bring the ball to the front of the pack and shepherded through a vital fourth-quarter goal.

For the Grasshoppers, midfielder Tim O’Dwyer was superb all day, while Stephen Tuohey was impressive on a wing.

Leroy Miller provided early forward options early but his effectiveness diminished as the game went on, while Hugh Barlow, Tom Draffin and Matt Riordan also impressed.

With Colbinabbin kicking with a slight breeze, the Cats’ first term played a big part in their eventual victory as they kicked two goals at the clubhouse end — the only majors scored there all day.

Matt Bongiovanni celebrated his return to the seniors, opening the scoring with a left-foot snap, while Dohnt was busy early.

Sirett then equalised the scores before Miller gave the home team the lead, as the Grasshoppers’ taller players found space inside 50m.

The team went on to miss a couple of chances and Dohnt made them pay with an accurate set shot from the pocket, as LBU trailed by just one behind at the first break.

Dohnt asked his players to react quicker and the Cats goaled first in the second term, with Ryan Jensen converting from off the ground.

With ball and players alike grinding to a halt in the muddy mire, O’Brien’s 40m goal after receiving a handball was a rare highlight, with LBU leading 28-15 at the long break having held the home team scoreless.

Colbinabbin came out firing in the third term with Sirett again goaling, before the classy O’Dwyer snapped a goal out of the pack to draw the home team to within one point.

The Grasshoppers then regained the lead when Alex Van Ruiswyk marked and goaled.

With LBU struggling to get the ball forward, the Grasshoppers seemed to be winning more possessions around the packs and led 34-29 at the last change.

The Cats came out firing in the last quarter and pushed the ball forward at every chance.

As they kicked the ball into attack and over the back of a pack, the visitors got a stroke of luck as the ball plugged in the mud.

The hapless Colbinabbin defender slid past, grasping forlornly at the ball just out of his reach and Jeremy Mundie made the most of the chance to goal off the ground and level the scores.

With the Cats pushing, Dohnt then kicked accurately from 20m out in the pocket to put the Cats six points ahead about eight minutes into the last quarter.

What followed was a real slog from both sides, with countless ball-ups and heavy packs around the ball.

The last quarter stretched for what seemed an eternity and, with the ball on Colbinabbin’s half-forward flank, the siren finally sounded after 35 minutes to secure the Cats’ seventh win of the season.

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