Magpies squander a 35-point lead as Cats take top spot on the ladder.GEORDIE COWAN June 23, 2014 3:14am
Finley established itself as one of the premier teams in the Murray Football League on Saturday when it defeated Moama by 19 points.
The Cats looked down and out 10 minutes into the third term when they trailed by 35 points after the Magpies kicked the first two goals of the third quarter at Moama Recreation Reserve.
But the visitors regrouped and, led by Tom Seccull, who kicked seven straight goals, including five in the second half, came home strongly to record the 14.9 (93) to 11.8 (74) win to lift Finley to first place on the ladder.
The Cats’ tall men played a big role in swinging the momentum back to its favour with the Robertsons — ruckman Tim and half-backmen Cameron and Nick — all exerting their influence, while Matt Jackson was a constant driving force through the middle.
Michael Littlejohn racked up many possessions on a wing, while the likes of Ned Morrison, Jess Koopman, Levi Middleton and Ollie Ford continually pushed hard to get to contests and win the ball.
The result leaves Moama languishing in eighth spot on the ladder, ruing a missed chance to go up the ladder after Congupna defeated Nathalia.
Adding to the home team’s hurt is the knowledge that it is the second time it has given up a match-winning lead in the past four weeks, after its loss to Deniliquin.
The Cats kicked nine goals in a row during the third and fourth quarters and, while the Magpies tried to stem the flow, too often marking packs would see the visitors outnumber the home team by three to one and the ball would be rebounded with ease.
One player to produce a four-quarter performance for Moama was Lachie Schultz.
The 16-year-old continued his impressive year with a terrific game through the midfield, capping it off with a superb individual goal — his team’s only major in the last quarter.
Midfielder Taylor Beard was another to impress with his effort throughout the match, while ruckman Paul Nevill and defender Tim Scadden tried hard throughout the day.
Many players had good patches of play — David Ismail off half-back, Daniel Thorp, Rhys Archard and Paul Van Der Sluys in the centre and Michael Sage was a good target at centre half-forward — but there were not enough to carry on throughout the day.
Tyler Jones was another player to have a good start and he dominated the first quarter with five marks and three goals, helping his team out to a 31-13 lead at the first break.
It was a contested opening quarter, with Seccull and Jake Kilmartin kicking the first goals of the game.
While the ball was going end-to-end, few marks were being taken and Moama’s Grady Ward took advantage of the conditions to show his agility, kicking one goal and sparking the move for another goal after good work on the wing.
Moama coach Simon Maddox praised his team’s start during the break but said it was important to keep the advantage.
Neither team kicked consecutive goals in the second term, but again it was Moama which came out on top after Kilmartin opened proceedings.
Matt Rickards and Beard were the other Magpies to get on the scoresheet, while Koopman and Ford replied for the Cats as the home team led 50-27 at the long break.
Moama started the third quarter in slick fashion, with goals to Kilmartin and Sage to shoot out to a 64-29 lead — the biggest margin of the match — but then Finley started to crank up its gears as Moama slightly lost focus.
Seccull landed two goals in a row after winning holding the ball decisions, before a disastrous passage of play in Moama’s defence gifted James Kennedy a goal and suddenly the margin was back to 16 points.
With Littlejohn busy and Marcus Jackson a constant voice from half-back, all the momentum was with the Cats.
Seccull then provided his third magic moment for the term, nailing a set shot from right on the boundary in the forward pocket and a Cameron Robertson intercept mark led to Marcus Jackson breaking one tackle and booting a long goal to draw the visitors within four points at the final change.
Maddox urged his team to up its work ethic in the last quarter, but it was Finley who again came out firing and when Seccull made the most of good delivery from Koopman, the visitors took the lead for the first time since the early minutes in the opening term.
A miscued Jones snap when 30m out saw the home team miss a good chance to wrest the momentum back and with Finley’s tall players taking many strong marks, Ford then goaled on the run to put the team further ahead.
Seccull was proving unstoppable with good delivery and his seventh major put Finley 13 points clear, before an unbelievable Reid Crowe snap from the pocket broke Moama’s backs, giving his team a 20-point lead 17 minutes into the last term.
Schultz then provided a bit of inspired play for Moama, breaking one tackle before turning and goaling from 50m, but Finley had the last laugh when Jordan Daniel goaled to seal the 19-point win.
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