BACK ON TRACK

Campaspe News - - SPORT - By ALEX MITCHELL

ROCHESTER took a big step to­wards get­ting its sea­son back on track with a 22-point win against Echuca on Satur­day.

A five goals to nil third quar­ter was the key stretch for the Tigers and killed off the fight from the Mur­ray Bombers.

The win means Rochester is still in the mix for 2017, now with a 2-4 record and out­side the top six only by per­cent­age.

And should it con­tinue to find bet­ter form it could close the three­game gap to the top five, with a more favourable sched­ule to play out over the next five weeks.

Coach James Fla­herty said the per­for­mance was much needed af­ter a slow start to the year.

‘‘It was a lot more pleas­ing, we played with a bit more con­sis­tency and fin­ished the game off well,’’ he said.

He said his team was pleased to get a po­ten­tially sea­son-defin­ing win against a dan­ger­ous Echuca line-up.

‘‘We rate Echuca very highly, their for­ward line is tall and dan­ger­ous and they’ve got qual­ity right through the mid­field,’’ Fla­herty said.

‘‘This week was very im­por­tant for our sea­son and it’s good to get the win.’’

Rochester made a quick start, build­ing a 13-point lead by quar­ter­time to take con­trol of the game.

Hav­ing con­ceded the first five goals in its pre­vi­ous game against Be­nalla, Fla­herty said a fast-start had been im­por­tant against the Mur­ray Bombers.

‘‘It was one of our key ar­eas to im­prove, so to be two goals up at quar­ter-time was very pleas­ing and we were good af­ter that,’’ he said.

Echuca kicked the first two goals of the sec­ond quar­ter through Ruory Kirkby and Dean Hay­don to close right back in on its op­po­nent.

But Rochester was up to the chal­lenge and closed the half the bet­ter of the two sides, Perry Oliver’s third goal shortly be­fore half-time ex­tend­ing the lead to 15 points.

And the 5.1 (31) to 0.4 (4) third quar­ter largely put the game to bed with the Tigers 41 points in front at the fi­nal break.

Bai­ley Wile­man kicked the first of the quar­ter be­fore Oliver added his fourth goal. Jarod Ba­con kicked his sec­ond and third goals and Nick O’Con­nor slot­ted one as well to leave the Tigers in a bril­liant po­si­tion.

‘‘We were go­ing with the wind which helped, but the en­deav­our from our mid­field­ers was great and it gave our for­wards plenty of op­por­tu­nity,’’ Fla­herty said.

Echuca kicked the only three goals of the fi­nal quar­ter but it was too lit­tle too late; Rochester 22-point win­ners 11.8 (74) to 7.10 (52).

The coach said Dil­lon Wil­liams’ per­for­mance on the half-for­ward flank was im­por­tant for the side along with Oliver’s bag of four goals.

And he added con­sis­tency, as al­ways, had been a key fac­tor in win­ning the game.

‘‘We played three really good quar­ters of foot­ball and then fell off for one,’’ Fla­herty said.

‘‘In the weeks be­fore we’ve been play­ing in patches, with 15 min­utes good and then bad and then good and so on.

‘‘The con­sis­tency from the group was great along with our tack­ling and pres­sure.’’

A trip to Shep­par­ton is next for the Tigers, with a game against the win­less Swans a great op­por­tu­nity to make it two wins in a row.

‘‘We can’t take any side for granted, we are con­fi­dent but we need to per­form,’’ Fla­herty said.

The Tigers’ Dil­lon Wil­liams starred in a best-on-ground per­for­mance.

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