Tongala losing its grip on finals

August 01, 2017

TONGALA’S grasp on the top six sides has slipped even further following its eighth straight loss in the Murray Football League.

The Blues have been juggling an inconsistent senior line-up for several weeks and it was again the case on Saturday with seven changes listed.

Tyler Vick, Riley Bacon, Logan Church, Brayden Nevett, Jack Monigatti, Luke Woolan and Dylan Joyce all got into selections for the clash against Cobram at Tongala Recreation Reserve.

But it was the Tigers who enjoyed a day out, taking a 44-point win after keeping the opposition goal-less in the first half.

Tongala wasn’t without its chances however, recording three points in the first term as the backline worked hard to restrict the Tigers to two goals.

Football manager Paul Cox said the three points were all gettable goals, but it came down to a lack of kicking efficiency.

‘‘Obviously the blustery conditions were making things hard,’’ Cox said.

‘‘But we should’ve been able to convert off those which would’ve made a massive difference to our scoreboard pressure.

‘‘At the end of the day, it was our kicking efficiency and disposals which let us down, even in the second half.’’

The Blues didn’t give up though and were determined to turn the tide in their favour, however they struggled to get a roll on in pegging back the scores.

They trailed 4-29 at the major break and despite a couple of goals in the third term the margin was still 24 points at three-quarter time.

Jordan Souter carried the side as one of their on-field leaders and was phenomenal down back in the first half to rebound most balls which came his way.

He usually played an on-ball role, but looked just as comfortable across centre-half-back and was a real general in the backline.

‘‘We swung Jordan into the forward line in the fourth quarter just to see if we could get him on the end of a few kicks,’’ Cox said.

‘‘He finished up with two so it worked in that way.

‘‘A lot of the game often rests on his shoulders as with Riley Bacon also.’’

Bacon made his mark in his first game back to get the ball out on a number of occasions, however it wasn’t long before it came rebounding back.

‘‘Riley is a classy player and really brought that to the game (on Saturday),’’ Cox said.

‘‘He’s a real in-and-under type player and won a lot of the ball for us, it was just unfortunate it kept coming back.’’

Tongala ended the game 4.9 (33) to 11.11 (77).

Cox said the side was still lacking the experience to maintain control and possession of the ball.

Monigatti was just as influential, with Bailey Cox, Nathan Torney and Bailey Waasdorp rounding off the bests.

‘‘We always expected it being a development year,’’ he said.

‘‘The game itself reached no great heights from either side but it was our trouble in finishing off which made the difference.’’

The team now looks to its final three games of the season with Congupna, Finley and Rumbalara to come.

All three are winnable for the Blues as all are below them on the ladder.

‘‘It would be great to finish the year off on three wins,’’ Cox said.

‘‘But we know these sides are all in a similar position to us and will be putting in all they have to get a win.’’

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