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Bushrangers on wrong end of narrow margin

Murray Bushrangers have suffered a narrow defeat after Oakleigh Chargers snatched victory in the dying minutes of their TAC Cup clash.

DAMEN FRANCIS June 2, 2014 3:15am

For the second week in a row, Murray Bushrangers’ TAC Cup clash was decided by less than one straight kick at Norm Minns Oval.

This time, though, the result went against the home side, with competition leader Oakleigh Chargers snatching a three-point win.

The Bushrangers trailed by 13 points at the final change, but controlled the last quarter and hit the lead at the 20-minute mark.

However, the Chargers hit back in a rare foray forward and held out for the final two minutes to claim the points.

Bushrangers coach Darren Ogier was content with the performance and disappointed to come away with a loss.

‘‘We had 10 minutes in the first quarter where we were pretty ordinary, but other than that it was a close game and we kept at them the whole time,’’ Ogier said.

‘‘We kicked three goals six (behinds) in the last quarter and bad kicking is bad footy.

‘‘They were all decent, half opportunities. We didn’t miss any sitters, but we just made some critical errors at the wrong times and that’s what young players do.’’

The Chargers were buoyed by some quality and unexpected inclusions.

Victoria Metro made 13 changes for its second AFL Under-18 Championships game, freeing up several key players, including Darcy Moore, a son of two-time Brownlow medallist Peter Moore and a forecast father-son AFL selection for Collingwood.

The Bushrangers were missing four players who were on nationals duty with Victoria Country and injured pair Nathan Drummond and Brydan Hodgson.

To make matters worse, Tom Nihill copped a corked thigh in the first term and captain Nick Mellington suffered a corked shin and a cut above the eye, which required seven stitches.

Both players soldiered on, but Mellington was restricted to a forward line role, where he contributed two goals, but his presence was missed at stoppages up the ground.

Nick Coughlan shone in his second TAC Cup game back from a long-term injury, booting three goals including a ripper in the last term, before setting up another with a centering ball to 23rd man Lachlan Tiziani.

The loss saw the Bushrangers knocked out of the top eight by a rampaging North Ballarat Rebels outfit that piled on 24.3 against Sandringham Dragons to win by 89 points.

The Bushrangers face the Rebels after this weekend’s bye.

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