Murray Bushrangers will play TAC Cup finals this season after a hard-fought victory against Bendigo Pioneers on Saturday.GEORGINA CAHILL August 25, 2014 3:20am
When it mattered most, the Murray Bushrangers delivered.
The Bushies secured their TAC Cup finals spot after a tough battle against the Bendigo Pioneers.
Up until half-time it was the Pioneers who looked like snatching the four points from under the Bushies’ nose.
Within the first five minutes Murray Waite’s day ended with a collarbone injury.
But things went from bad to worse for the Bushies.
Michael Reidy dislocated his knee cap late in the first quarter and coach Darren Ogier said his young side took a while to adapt to the reduced rotations.
‘‘We lost two players pretty early in the game,’’ Ogier said.
‘‘That certainly stretched us a bit and it took us a while to come to grips with that.’’
The home side clung on to an eight-point lead at the first break, then the Bushies found some momentum and reduced to the deficit to two points at half-time.
Ogier believed they gave the Pioneers too much space in the opening half.
‘‘We certainly just wanted to be much more accountable and not give them as much space as we were,’’ he said.
‘‘We also wanted to increase contested ball and pressure around the ball which really did improve in that last half.
‘‘We spoke about obviously that we were down two players and that we were going to need a huge effort with regards to work rate.’’
The Bushies turned their deficit into a two-point lead at three-quarter time.
Ogier’s army knew the stakes were high and outscored the Pioneers 2.8 to 1.1 in the final term to claim not only a 15-point win but cement itself as a finals contender.
Mooroopna’s Nathan Drummond earned a best-on-ground performance for the second week in a row.
In his third TAC Cup match, fellow Cat Jy Simpkin again delivered.
Bushies captain Nick Mellington lifted when the Bushies needed him to and played a key role on reigning Morrish medallist Jacob Chisari.
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