Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Bushrangers withstand attack of Jets

Murray Bushrangers coach Darren Ogier was delighted by the resilience of his team yesterday after it stood strong under pressure to defeat Western Jets.

DAMEN FRANCIS July 14, 2014 3:05am

Murray Bushrangers coach Darren Ogier addresses his players after their hard-fought TAC Cup win at Norm Minns Oval.

Murray Bushrangers withstood a barrage of fire from Western Jets to record a stirring win at Norm Minns Oval yesterday and keep their TAC Cup finals hopes alive.

In an open and entertaining game of football, the Bushrangers shot to a 13-point half-time lead on the back of a dominant second term.

However, from there the Bushrangers were forced to endure wave after wave of Jets attacks, as they struggled to get beyond the centre square.

The home side absorbed the pressure and late goals to Jim Carroll, Nick Coughlan, Nick Mellington and Isaac Muller sealed a 16-point win.

Bushrangers coach Darren Ogier was happy with the way his side moved the ball to half-time, but even happier with the resilience of the second.

‘‘The pressure was outstanding by Western, but for our boys to not crack and withstand it was tremendous,’’ Ogier said.

‘‘It took us until the last seven minutes of the game to win it and for us to do that, we just kept going until that final siren.’’

The Jets made a fine start to the game with the opening two goals, but the Bushrangers got their run going and kicked three of the next four through Carroll, Josh Schache and Murray Waite to be level at the first change.

Luke Smith announced his TAC Cup arrival with two second-term goals on debut — one composed set shot, followed by a confident long range finish — playing as the 23rd man.

‘‘We’ve been keen to get Luke in all year and we just saw what he’s capable of and he’s going to continue to improve,’’ Ogier said.

‘‘He’s still got a lot of things to build on from today, but for a first up performance it was really promising.’’

Waite was the most dangerous forward on the ground to half-time and Brody Webster worked hard to provide a half-forward target, while Connor Brown was good in defence, with his long rebound kicking a feature.

Tall defenders Dougal Howard and Tom Holman stood up in the second half as the Jets peppered the ball inside 50 and Brydan Hodgson, Nick Mellington and Kieran Ellis worked hard to run the ball clear.

The highlight of the day went to Jets forward Jayden Laverde, whose spectacular third-quarter hanger led to a crucial goal — the first of three that put the visitors seven points in front midway through the final term.

The home side’s response though, delighted Ogier.

‘‘Belief is a ridiculously powerful thing, so we’ll take that out of this week and we’ll certainly be taking it up a notch against Tassie next week,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re very proud of that effort and we spoke about it and that it was a defining game for us before the game and we needed defining actions and the boys were tremendous.’’

The Bushrangers remained ninth on the ladder, but moved level on points with seventh-placed Jets, trailing them and Eastern Ranges on percentage.

They have a bye this weekend, before taking on Tasmania at Highgate Recreation Reserve on July 26.

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