Cats wasteful but Murray Bombers unable to make the most of their chances.GEORDIE COWAN July 8, 2014 3:47am
Echuca came within nine points of Mooroopna at Victoria Park on Saturday, but in truth it would have been daylight robbery had the Murray Bombers come away with the four points.
The Cats dominated proceedings for most of the day, with their profligacy in front of goal the main reason why the result was not determined sooner as they won 8.21 (69) to 8.12 (60).
This is not to discount the effort shown by the home side after a poor opening quarter, but it was Mooroopna that looked more desperate to win with hard running earning the team 29 shots at goal from just 35 forward 50m entries.
After an opening term dominated by the visitors, Echuca reduced the deficit to 12 points by half-time.
Mooroopna again pushed the lead out to 20 points by the final break, but the Murray Bombers were unable to make the most of their momentum and a one-man advantage for much of the term as they fell nine points short.
Simon Buckley, who announced pre-game that he had re-signed with Echuca for a further two years, had another terrific performance through the midfield.
Earning about 10 touches in the first 10 minutes of the match, Buckley finished with 37 possessions and a goal.
Defender Matt Hay had another great game, restricting in-form forward Daniel Lewis to just one goal and few possessions, while Matt Pollock led from the front and was the team’s only multiple goal-kicker with two majors.
Brieghton Shea enjoyed a good game through the midfield and forward line but would bemoan his missed shots at goal, finishing with five behinds for the match, while ruckman Kane Morris put in a determined effort.
Dylan Friedberger had one of his better games for the year, while Clayton Holmes, Curtis Townrow, Greg Scott and Marcus Smith showed good patches.
Brendan Prendergast also had a solid game in defence, while Joel Magnabosco and Jack Sheldon used the ball well from half-back.
The Murray Bombers also lost key forward Liam Wilkinson to concussion just before half-time, which was a blow for the team.
For Mooroopna, Mitch Keddell, Kane Atkinson and Martin Curtis were good throughout, while forward Rob Osborne used his strong marking hands to good effect to finish with two goals.
Jesse Webster, Trent Freer and Dylan Cornick also played well.
On a cloudy day with a cold wind edging towards the northern side of the ground, Charlie Burrows kicked the first goal with a right-foot snap to get Mooroopna off to a good start.
The Cats had all the play and Trent Freer was the next to goal with a long bomb after nine minutes and Atkinson followed suit soon after.
Echuca was doing well in the centre clearances thanks in part to Buckley’s effort, but was struggling to gain possession inside its forward 50m.
Wilkinson finally kicked Echuca’s first goal from a free-kick, but a classy goal by Osborne, when he gathered a bouncing ball in one hand before kicking the ball over his shoulder, saw Mooroopna hold a 30-7 lead at quarter-time.
Echuca coach Andrew Briggs expressed his displeasure with his charges at the break, noting the Cats had registered 10 scoring shots from 12 inside 50s.
Osborne kicked the first goal of the second term to extend the lead to a game-high 30 points, before Friedberger responded after battling for the ball in Echuca’s attack.
With the players raising their intensity, a Shea tackle eventually resulted in a Scott goal, but Kane Boyer replied for the visitors.
A couple of good chase down tackles from Smith and Sheldon swung the momentum Echuca’s way once again and late goals to Pollock and Nick Jackson saw the team trail 34-46 at half-time.
However, it was not all rosy for the home side as a crunching Webster tackle saw Echuca’s main forward target Wilkinson hit his head on the ground and had to be helped from the field late in the second term.
The third quarter started in a similar fashion to the first term, with Mooroopna dominating the play.
The Cats missed chance after chance early, lacking composure when shooting for goal and it was not until the 12th minute when Curtis capitalised.
Jordan Florance replied for the home team, before Lewis earned a rare mark on the boundary in the forward pocket.
Having watched his teammates miss countless shots, the forward threaded his set shot straight through the middle as the visitors led 66-44 at the final change — having kicked 2.8 for the quarter.
Buckley gave Echuca hope early in the last as he showed great pace at a stoppage before kicking a right-foot banana to reduce the margin to 16 points four minutes into the term.
With both teams battling for the ball in the middle of the ground, a wrestling match emerged on the Cats’ half-forward line.
Mooroopna’s Boyer then launched himself into the fray like a cannonball and was consequently yellow-carded as the third man into the contest, which eventually attracted 18 players.
When Pollock goaled from a stoppage 19 minutes into the term, the margin was reduced to eight points, but the home team was unable to earn another shot at goal as Mooroopna secured its fifth win of the season.
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