MURRAY Football League has secured the ultimate bragging rights over Wimmera Football League following Saturday’s interleague clash at Moama Recreation Reserve.
The senior team made up for the 27-point loss to South East FNL the previous year by sailing home to a 22-point win during the second WorkSafe AFL Victoria Community Championships head-to-head match.
Murray won the toss, choosing to kick with the wind, but Wimmera had all the play in the first quarter to set a cracking pace for the game.
Wimmera capitalised on its imposing back line to continually drive the ball into its forward half and shut down Murray’s forward line, kicking 3.3 to lead by a goal at the break.
But the home side stuck to its structures and continued its high rotations to finally get the reward it was after with a run of goals seeing it hit the front early in the second, going on to kick 6.1 to Wimmera’s 2.2 and lead by 17 points at half-time.
Barooga’s Will Gorman pushed up from back-flank to kick two straight goals for Murray at the start of the second while Echuca United’s Zac Mihocek ran the ball and set up several shots at goal for Murray as well as taking two for himself.
Murray lifted its intensity in the latter stages of the second quarter and much of the charge was led by onballers Rhys Archard (Moama) and Jordan Souter (Tongala), who interchanged throughout the game and did a lot behind play to get the whole-team reward.
‘‘It was a really high standard of footy, a lot quicker than your usual Saturday games,’’ Souter said.
‘‘Wimmera really brought it to us in the first quarter and played at a high intensity.
‘‘I struggled at some stages, it was a little quick for me, but it was great getting out there with the boys in the end. All of them are good lads.’’
The scores weren’t reflective of the first-half though with Wimmera putting up a strong contest across the ground and dominating in the back-line.
Wimmera’s Tom Eckel was the most damaging across the ground and was high on Murray’s list of players to stop at the half-time break with an emphasis on full-ground pressure from coach Simon Maddox.
Murray went in to the third kicking with the wind and capitalised on a good start to get the first two goals of the half from Ashley Froud and co-captain Tyrone Downie and lead 10.4 (64) to 5.5 (35).
Murray lacked some forward defensive pressure, but Nathalia’s Brodie Ross made for an easy target, kicking two goals, while Froud continued to present in the forward line picking up five majors for the game.
A long-bomb from Mihocek at the end of the term saw scores 12.9 (81)-9.5 (59) at three quarter time.
Coach Jason Limbrick encouraged players to lift in the final quarter after letting Wimmera back into the game in the third.
Murray continued to win at the stoppages and provided plenty of opportunities on the scoreboard to kick another 4.1 in the fourth to win 16.10 (106) -13.6 (84).
United’s Farran Priest and Moama’s Jake Hare and Mitch Eade had plenty of good defensive touches and United’s Nick Denahy and Phil Hubbard worked hard in the midfield in bringing the ball forward.
Brodie A’Vard from Barooga was award Murray’s best player for his solid ruck effort with young Kieran Delahunty named as Wimmera’s player of the match.
‘‘It was an incredibly fast, attractive game,’’ Limbrick said after the match.
‘‘All the players should be proud of how they represented their leagues and Moama for hosting such a successful day.’’
Co-captain Archard said the professional approach of the Murray interleague team to this year’s game and the spirit in which it was played showed in the results.