IT WAS first things first for the Allies on Saturday at Toora.
They needed to win the wind-swept match for two good reasons; (1.) they wanted to secure the double chance by tying down third spot and they also wanted to assume the psychological advantage for when these two teams inevitably meet in the qualifying final in a few weeks’ time.
So, despite the fact that their goal-kicking machine Kael Bergles was on 93 goals at the start of the day, they continually took the best option in attack.
Bergles started the day well with two in the first quarter, with the Allies opening up with the wind to the netball court-end of the ground.
But when he went goalless in the second quarter and Toora started to close in, all efforts went into building a sufficient lead by three quarter time so the Maggies couldn’t catch them.
But it was a highly entertaining contest all the same with these teams very evenly matched up and down the ground and Bergles having a fantastic man-on-man contest with Ben Willder, trying to turn even the slightest chance into a goal.
John Mentiplay got the important first goal of the second half to stretch DWWWW’s lead but he paid a heavy price when Lucas Jenkins floored him the next time be went for the ball.
Goals to Sigeti and then Phillips on the run for the Allies was good as they built up the lead but Toora was right back in it with two great goals up into the wind, by Pintus and Jenkins, making it only 13 points the diff.
Enter Bergles, he tracked the ball past two Toora opponents on the boundary line in front of the coach’s box and then kicked a pearler for number 96 of the season, still with plenty of time for more.
A great smother up the field by a DWWWW player got the ball forward to where big Zahra crashed the pack and got the ball to Egerton for a key goal right on the break.
Within seconds of the restart, Egerton got the ball forward to Bergles one-on-one where he got into the clear to kick number 97 for the season to put the Allies 31 points clear.
Toora had plenty of good goers all day, Mulholland sweeping across from wing to wing to take dozens of marks, Jack Weston linking up well, Cat Grant a strong contributor, O’Sullivan and Ferguson racking up the touches but they missed goals that might have ignited a fightback.
Meanwhile Bergles had numerous chances to get the three for his ton as team mates started to look for him but he missed at least four good chances in the last quarter.
It was entertaining watching him go about his work, on a day that wasn’t best suited to a lead-up forward.
You wouldn’t want to be his Foster opponent next week, so to be able to hold Bergles to only four goals in the circumstances was probably a good effort by Toora’s Willder.
Speaking afterwards Bergles said he was hopeful of passing 100 goals on the day.
“The most important thing was the four points but I probably left a few out there today,” he said.
“When I get the ball I’ll look at the options but mostly I’m prepared to back myself in which is what I’m there for.”
Surprisingly he has only ever kicked 100 goals in a season once, 121 in the Alberton league a few years ago although he has finished in the 90s on three other occasions including 99 one year.
He could easily beat his own record this year with a finals campaign to come.
Wild day stops Bergles at 97