AN INJECTION of TAC Cup talent has seen Echuca Football Club through to its fourth win in the Goulburn Valley League.
It’s kept their finals chances well and truly alive to maintain its position as seventh on the ladder through percentage, currently on the same points at Rochester in sixth.
The Murray Bombers ended the game 15 points in the clear of Tatura at Tatura Park on Saturday, a strong second-half performance seeing them across the line.
It was their second consecutive win after downing Mansfield by five points the week prior, but the game could have easily gone in the Bulldogs favour had they been able to kick straight.
The home side managed just five goals from 18 scoring shots in the final half while Echuca made the most of its opportunities, kicking 9.2.
It was a hard grind for both teams in the first quarter and it wasn’t until the 12 minute mark before Tatura kicked the opening goal.
Coach Andrew Briggs said momentum constantly swung throughout the game, Simon Buckley rounding off the quarter with a third goal for the Murray Bombers to bring on a six-point lead, 3.3 to 2.3.
Tatura’s James Sullivan kicked three goals in the second term to swing momentum in their favour and place the Bulldogs within two points at half-time, 39-41.
‘‘We got a bit of a jump on them at the start of the first quarter before they came back and each quarter after that played out the same,’’ Briggs said.
‘‘The boys started to move the ball a lot better this week and our defensive pressure was good.’’
With their noses in front it was up to the Murray Bombers to keep their heads in the second-half.
Five unanswered goals at the start of the third gave them a 24-point lead mid-way through the quarter before running out the game 15.7 (97) to 11.16 (82).
‘‘There was a belief in the playing group,’’ Briggs said.
‘‘They really stuck at it for four quarters and it’s given us a lot of momentum going forward with two straight wins.
‘‘It was a game we needed to win, but putting aside ladder positions we want to win every game we can.’’
The forward line was dominant as always, Ruory Kirkby continuing to find the scoreboard with six goals and Tim Allan improved on his game from the previous week to kick three.
Buckley contributed two goals and has been an instrumental part of the midfield with Kane Morris (one goal) in sharing the load of the forwards.
Darby Henderson and Jobee Warde each kicked one goal in their season debuts, the Bendigo Pioneers players having a scheduled development weekend in the TAC Cup.
They brought a lot of youth and talent to the senior side with Henderson named among the best players for his consistency through the middle of the ground.
Mitchell Kemp was also strong in his role as half-back flank.
‘‘They bring plenty of energy to the group and inspire the older guys to keep going,’’ Briggs said.
‘‘The younger players really look up to how they handle their footy.’’
This weekend the Murray Bombers are at home taking on Seymour who saw some good wins earlier in the season to be sitting fifth on the ladder.
Saad Saad and Rhys Clarke were dominant in the game against Benalla at the weekend and it would be a main priority in shutting them down come Saturday.
Saad Saad has been a good return for the Lions and will be difficult to match up against, but Briggs was confident they had the players to do the job.
‘‘Saad has been a good forward in the competition for a long time, but it’s the midfield we’ll be looking to even up,’’ Briggs said.
‘‘It’s important now to keep playing the brand of footy we want to play and it should bring us wins.’’
Jordan Florance will most likely return to the side after using the weekend to rest an injury from earlier in the season and will be a crucial addition to the forward line.