THE final score tells the story of a seven-goal win by Nyora over local rivals Poowong in the latest battle for the Des Rodgers Cup but on a dirty day for football, it wasn’t that easy.
In fact, the home side Poowong provided a good contest for the ball at every stoppage and especially when kicking with the wind, pushed the ball hard up into their scoring zone.
But, whereas Nyora had Ben Hallas kicking three of their four goals to half time, and one more shortly after the restart in the third quarter, Poowong simply couldn’t find a way home throughout the day.
Fia Tootoo had his defensive unit well drilled, dropping back to cover the ball that slipped through the contest, or presenting ‘front and centre’ to crumb the packs or grabbing the chance when the ball fell short.
Jake Hazedndonk got one against the wind in the second quarter for Poowong and Chris Robinson scored a consolation goal in the last quarter but Nyora had the clear edge in talent all over the ground and did all the right things, especially in defence on a difficult day.
It was hard to nominate good players with the gale-force winds and rain turning the match into a rolling maul, and as many as 24 or more players congesting the stoppages, but Ryan Spooner was an absolute standout on the ball for Nyora to half time and he continued to dominate, regularly getting the ball out to a teammate’s advantage from a pack situation.
Poowong were still mathematically in the game at half time, trailing four goals to one and kicking with the wind in the third, however while they often had the ball at half forward, they simply couldn’t get close enough to score against the well-organised Nyora backline who regularly rebounded to attack.
Nyora by comparison was consistent and workmanlike with the way they approached getting a winning score with 2, 2, 2 and 3 goals in each of the four quarters, even when pushing it up into the wind.
And they were enjoying their work too with smiles and encouragement on the bench as players changed over regularly to take their turn in an often fierce contest.
The hardworking onballers got the nod as Nyora’s best players, including the likes of Jesse Heylen and Rhys Bancroft but it was a good team effort again, the hallmark of Nyora’s season so far and they continue to sit on top of the ladder, two games clear of Longwarry.
Nyora hosts Neerim at home this Saturday after the Cats recorded a good win but it won’t be until the end of July that they meet Longwarry.
It’s a very close competition this year but winning form is good form and the Saints are certainly on cloud nine at the moment.
Full football coverage in this weeks edition of the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times.
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