McIvor Times - - SPORTS - By DAR­REN LEWIS

THE with­drawal of Marc Mil­lard and Bray­den Klemke – star de­fend­ers and key run­ners in the line-up – was a sig­nif­i­cant blow to a Saints com­bi­na­tion try­ing to get con­sis­tency in its play for Satur­day’s Heath­cote and Dis­trict Foot­ball League match against Huntly.

The wide ex­panses of the Huntly Oval would al­low the Hawk’s abun­dance of run­ners to take ad­van­tage of th­ese ab­sences.

As was to be ex­pected Huntly dom­i­nated around the ground but in pos­i­tive signs for Luke Bell and his coach­ing panel the Saints did not get blown away in the first quar­ter.

And re­gained their com­po­sure to slot a cou­ple of late goals to trail by just 13 points.

With Ange Ro­mag­nano tak­ing Mil­lard’s role as the sweeper in de­fence and Tom Pain again con­tin­u­ing to be con­struc­tive around the ground, the Saints went into the sec­ond term with some con­fi­dence.

But it was all Huntly as it slammed on 8.5 and ran Heath­cote ragged across the ground.

The long break did noth­ing to help as the tal­ented Hawks out­fit con­tin­ued to at­tack but the un­der-gunned Saints’ de­fence was tremen­dous, re­strict­ing them to just four goals.

In fact the last five min­utes or so saw the Saints take con­trol of the ball but three shots within the 50m arc only re­sulted in three be­hinds, not a fair in­di­ca­tion of their hard work.

Huntly con­tin­ued to run and fin­ished with a flurry of goals at the end to bump the mar­gin over 100 points.

It would be easy to make a neg­a­tive com­ment at the re­sult but the Saints played a tremen­dous team and un­like the match against Leitchville-Gun­bower kept at­tack­ing and scored five goals.

Young Jye For­mosa made his se­nior de­but af­ter play­ing a full game in the thirds and al­though light-framed did not look over­awed by the sit­u­a­tion.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Jye who got to play his first game with brother Jor­dan.

With play­ers such as Reece Carmichael, Marc Mil­lard, Bray­den Klemke and coach Luke Bell to re­turn, the Saints just have to keep back­ing each other and sup­port­ers need to re­main just that.

WITH a very winnable game against White Hills on Satur­day the Saints faith­ful need to get down to the Bar­rack Re­serve and urge on their young team.

Tom Pain and Darcy McLean were out­stand­ing all day, they were like ter­ri­ers around the ground and never shirked go­ing in for the hard ball.

They both en­joyed the wide open spa­ces of Huntly and pro­vided the Saints with plenty of drive.

Louis Pic­colo re­turned to form on the back of a game where he con­tin­ued to run to con­tests to present, his tack­ling a fea­ture.

Skip­per Jake Con­don was his usual hard­work­ing self and Dan Rus­sell and Ro­mag­nano were strong in de­fence all day.

Photo:Dar­ren Lewis

Tom Pain was bril­liant at ground level across the ground but showed his full range when he pulled down this spec­tac­u­lar grab just be­fore the siren.

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