Finley fought off a spirited challenge from Moama on Saturday, eventually claiming a seven point Murray Football League victory.
The Magpies flew out of the blocks on their home deck with 10 scoring shots in the first term, but should have done better than 5.5 on the scoreboard.
Luke Moore (five goals), Lachie Hawkins, Paul Massingham and Robb Jewell excelled for the Cats, while Fraser Buchanan (four), Lachie Thorp and Jack Harland battled hard for Moama.
Final score, Finley 13.13 (91) to Moama 12.12 (84)
The young Cats started well with Shaun Kable again kicking the opening goal after marking deep in the forward pocket despite the wind favouring the home side.
Jack Russell, as his name suggests, was quick to pounce on a loose ball in the Cats backline registering Moama’s first goal.
Moore soon had the next for Finley as they cleverly transferred play around the far wing through a series of short kicks and high possession football.
Moama responded with two quick goals from centre clearances to wrestle back the lead.
There was no doubt that goals would be much easier to kick at that end and the Cats needed to lock down hard.
Another goal to the home side on the cusp of quarter time saw the margin out to 23 points in favour of the Magpies.
Hawkins began to assert himself in the clearances in the second quarter and his strength around stoppages created opportunities for Moore, Zec Cuppens and Levi Middleton.
Moore converted two chances in quick succession before lively Cats forward Matt Wilson dragged the margin back to six points with a major.
Fraser Buchanan steadied for Moama finding a way through the Finley defence which had stood strong.
Massingham, Zeke Carruthers and Dan O’Bryan had provided the forwards with many opportunities with Jewell, Middleton and Jasper Brain providing run and carry around the middle.
Two goals late in the quarter saw Finley take a one point lead into half time.
The wind had died down in the third quarter and this evened out the scoring opportunities.
Cuppens was the first to goal quickly followed by Moore for his fourth.
Defensive pressure on the last line by Cam Robertson and Mitch Ryan saw the home side held to just two goals for the term and the margin again one point at the last break, this time in favour of Moama.
Jack Harland gave Moama the perfect start to the last quarter with an early goal.
Hawkins would prove to be the difference. His ruck work and tackling had been outstanding all game and he controlled the clearances.
A clever tap to Wilson saw the ball end with Cuppens for another goal.
Jewell and Tom McCarney had both worked hard at applying pressure to the Moama midfielders and the breaks started to go the Cats’ way.
The next forward entry saw Matt Jackson juggle the attempted mark before controlling the ball and cleverly snapping through his first to give the Cats the lead.
Kable, as he has done constantly throughout his career, kicked long to the advantage of Wilson who kicked the goal.
Another to Moama saw the lead again back down to the barest of margins.
The Cats stood tall however with Hawkins tapping to the advantage of his side before a chain of possessions involving forwards Wilson and Tim Robertson saw the ball in Middleton’s hands, and he kicked the goal to seal the Cats win.
Finley will again have a tough test this week when they host reigning premiers Nathalia in the Rex James-Kelly Grains Shield clash on Saturday.
An undermanned Finley reserves side were no match for Moama, suffering an 89 point loss on Saturday.
A 10 goal to one first half saw the Cats trailing by 56 points at half time, with the home side cruising to a big win.
Final score, Moama 16.11 (107) to Finley 2.6 (18).
Willie Robertson was a standout for Finley at centre half back and was clearly best on ground.
Other good players were Wyatt Gray, Nick Campbell, skipper Marcus Jackson and Simon Fuller.