Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Cats get cream in tough scrap

Despite some errant kicking Mooroopna scored a valuable nine-point win against Echuca in Goulburn Valley Football League on Saturday.

DAMEN FRANCIS July 7, 2014 3:10am

Echuca lost to Mooroopna on Saturday, but re-signed star on-baller Simon Buckley for two more years.

Transition football served Mooroopna well at Victoria Park Oval on Saturday.

Host side Echuca won the centre clearance and inside-50 counts, but time and again was deprived of opportunities at goal by an organised Cats defensive unit that repelled as well as it denied.

Mooroopna was wasteful on the scoreboard, but mustered 29 scoring shots from less than 40 forward-50 entries in the nine-point Goulburn Valley Football League win.

Cats coach Blake Campbell admitted his team had itself to blame for a tense final quarter, but was delighted with the overall performance.

‘‘Our back line was sensational and I thought we played really well,’’ Campbell said.

‘‘We knew Echuca would be good defensively, but I felt we controlled the game for the majority.

‘‘We kicked 21 points for the game and two goals eight in the third quarter, so it was a real arm wrestle in the end, but that’s happened a few times with our young group.’’

The visitors were up and about early, piling on four goals to one to quarter-time.

The home side hit back and was within two straight kicks at the main change.

The Cats dominated the third term and should have been further in front, but built enough of a lead to hold on for a valuable win.

They go into next week’s mid-season league-wide bye level on points with sixth-placed Rochester and Euroa, which they meet the following week.

Ahead of the game much was made of the ruck battle between in-form Murray Bomber Kane Morris and Cats Joe Sullivan and Jesse Webster.

However, Sullivan set the tone for the day when he jumped into Morris at the opening bounce, as the Mooroopna pair negated his impact by competing around the ground and giving their on-ballers a fighting chance.

Trent Freer worked hard in and under, Mitch Keddell worked well outside and Martin Curtis gathered 30-plus possessions in a best-on-ground performance.

Rob Osborne made his second senior appearance of the season and impressed with his pressure inside the forward 50 finishing with two goals.

Matt Hay was one of few winners for Echuca, holding Mooroopna’s star forward Dan Lewis to one goal, while Simon Buckley and Jack Sheldon were also good.

Echuca coach Andrew Briggs was disappointed with his side’s lack of two-way running.

‘‘There’s no two ways about it, it was just utterly disappointing,’’ Briggs said.

‘‘They loaded up in our forward line and they were able to make a lot of run from deep.

‘‘They only took six marks inside-50, but they were able to get the ball to ground and kicked a few stoppage goals.

‘‘Offensively we were not too bad in terms of supply, but we didn’t run hard enough the other way.’’

Echuca’s Liam Wilkinson suffered concussion before half-time and Lewis pulled up sore.

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