THE top sides of the Murray Football League should be wary of the black and white strip.
As the finals approach, Moama Football Club look to only be strengthening having recorded its sixth win in as many games.
It survived a third quarter comeback to dispatch Deniliquin by 31 points at Moama Recreation Reserve on Saturday.
Jake Hare and Jack McHale were both in the side this week and created a lot of options for the club moving forward.
They were getting as close to full strength as possible and coach Mark Lloyd hoped their injury troubles from the start of the year were behind them.
‘‘We got through unscathed this week and everyone has pulled up well,’’ he said.
‘‘We struggled with injuries at the start of the year, but hopefully we can continue on this track and be past all that.
‘‘Having Jake back in the side added a lot of strength around the stoppages and it was great to have his leadership skills out there for the young guys coming through.
‘‘He ensured we weren’t getting bullied off the ball and for him to get through the game without re-injuring himself was a big positive.’’
The Rams had proven to be a top contender in the past and certainly brought everything they had in the third term.
They were kept quiet in the first quarter through the depth of Moama’s backline and despite having the wind behind them were outscored 0.3 (3) to 2.1 (13).
They made it difficult for Moama’s forward line though, dropping numbers back and making the forwards work hard.
The midfield managed to get the ball to Tyler Jones on two occasions to score goals.
Jones kicked another two in the second with Ben Welch getting on the end of the Mowers fifth goal ahead of main break.
But it went downhill from there as the Mowers coughed up a 25-point half-time lead to trail by 11-points at the final change.
‘‘Deniliquin took it right up to us in the third and played some really good footy,’’ Lloyd said.
‘‘Each side got their chance for a decent advantage with the wind, but Deniliquin got their hands to more ball in the third and capitalised.
‘‘In the first quarter we were winning a lot of the stoppages, but then our concentration just dropped off which is when sides can really hurt us.’’
To the Mowers credit they kept their heads and used the break to refocus and produce a better team performance in the fourth.
Lloyd said the third quarter was a good wake up call as the last quarter was by far their best.
‘‘It took until the last to break open Deniliquin’s defence and put some speed on the ball coming into our forward 50,’’ he said.
‘‘Our forward line reaped the rewards and could’ve capitalised on a few more chances.
‘‘We played a good brand of footy and were able to run over the the top of them which is what you want to see heading into finals.’’
Jeremy Pain (two goals), Daniel Thorp and Lachlan Collins (three goals) all stepped up to kick goals in the last with Jones finishing off the game on five and Welch on two.
Moama’s midfield continued to combine efficiently in delivering the ball into the forwards and highlighted its mix of youth and experience with several named in the bests.
Luke Eldridge produced a best on ground performance and Rhys Archard, Luke Dunham, Mitch Eade and Noah Wheeler were also named among the better players.
The side will require everything it has in its remaining clashes against Barooga and Nathalia.
‘‘It’s exciting for the league and spectators to know any top side on their day could win,’’ Lloyd said.
‘‘It gives teams a lot of confidence.
‘‘Our next two games after the bye this week should give us a good grounding for the pressure we’ll face come finals.
‘‘We’ve got Barooga away and then our final home game against Nathalia; we’ll be focusing on just one game at a time.’’
Moama has moved to third on the ladder with Barooga and Mulwala still to play this weekend in the split round.