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Bushrangers stand and deliver

An inexperienced Murray Bushrangers outfit has fought bravely to conquer Northern Knights in their TAC Cup clash.

DAMEN FRANCIS June 30, 2014 3:20am

Armed with 13 bottom-age players and just five from last year’s TAC Cup program, Murray Bushrangers battled to a spirited 12-point win against Northern Knights at Norm Minns Oval yesterday.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak and kept the Bushrangers in touch with the top eight.

Coach Darren Ogier was delighted for the players.

‘‘I said to them before the game it’s a good opportunity for us to really step up and make a bit of a statement and for them to create something out of nothing, because it’s our least experienced team for the year,’’ Ogier said.

‘‘It might not have been that impressive on the scoreboard, but the way we played over the four quarters was the best it’s been for a group, certainly so inexperienced, for a good month.’’

Adding to the challenge, the Bushrangers played the majority of the second half two players down, with Shepparton’s Julius Battista and CDHDU’s Jay O’Donoghue suffering concussion.

The quarter-by-quarter margin was never more than two behinds, with the Knights shading it by that difference at the final change.

However, final-term goals to Josh Schache and Brody Webster were enough to secure the win.

Tom Holman was again a pillar of strength across half-back, using his size to good effect on a day better suited to backmen than forwards.

Returned Victoria Country representative Dave Mennen was also prominent, as was Murray Waite, while Finley’s Levi Middleton made an impact on his TAC Cup debut

The Bushrangers had a similarly nail-biting win in the same fixture last year, which earned them a finals spot at the Knights’ expense.

It remains to be seen if this result has a similar bearing on the season, but it gave the home side a two-game break from Gippsland Power and the Knights in the battle for a top-eight finish.

Two of the last three losses were by one straight kick or less, so winning a close one will do plenty for the Bushrangers’ confidence as well.

‘‘I said to them at three-quarter time about being at home and the close games we’ve had lately and how good we’ve been in the first three quarters and we didn’t want to sour it and for their own reward for effort,’’ Ogier said.

‘‘They (the Knights) had private school kids back as well, so the boys had to dig deep and they did a great job.’’

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