A strong first half has set up victory for Murray Bushrangers over North Ballarat Rebels in the their TAC Cup clash in Bendigo.DAMEN FRANCIS April 14, 2014 3:10am
A switched-on first half has helped Murray Bushrangers record a 39-point win against North Ballarat Rebels in Bendigo on Saturday.
One week after a disappointing performance against Gippsland Power, the Bushrangers showed greater intent from the get-go, to open up a five-goal break by half-time.
They managed just three goals for the remainder of the game — much to coach Darren Ogier’s frustration — but still outscored the Rebels 25-19 and had more scoring shots 10-9.
‘‘From my perspective, it was a really good first half,’’ Ogier said.
‘‘We kicked nine goals, but then in the second half we went away from the structures and only kicked three.
‘‘Basically we weren’t sticking to the plan, and that sort of showed on the scoreboard.’’
The match was played in sunny conditions at Queen Elizabeth Oval and despite five games, the playing surface was in good shape and gave the Bushrangers few excuses.
‘‘Fatigue creates errors, but we ran the game out much better and three games in that shouldn’t be an issue anyway,’’ Ogier said.
‘‘We’re two (wins) and one (loss) now, so I think we’ve broken even in terms of performance.
‘‘We’re still not in a position that I’d like us to be in, particularly with our ball movement and execution, but we’re continuing to progress in those areas.’’
Mooroopna’s Nathan Drummond produced a second straight starring performance, moving into a midfield role and teaming well with in-form ruckman Isaac Muller.
‘‘Nathan was tremendous, he hasn’t played a great deal on the ball and that was his best game on-ball,’’ Ogier said.
‘‘He’s improved every week and he hasn’t played a lot of footy since July.’’
Other standouts were Rennie’s Dan Howe, Albury’s Kieran Ellis and Finley’s Al Clarke.
Drummond kicked two goals, as did Benalla’s Brody Webster.
Meanwhile, Drummond, Howe and Webster have been added to the Victoria Country under-18 state academy squad.
The squad plays practice matches on Friday against Northern Territory and NSW.
It represents a big step towards representing the state at the AFL Under-18 National Championships later this year.
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