Costly win for gutsy Magpies
Pies set to be without key playmakers for Tigers clash after fiery win over Raiders
A five-goal to two third term had the Raiders nipping at Wangaratta’s heels closing the gap to one point at three quarter time and the game poised for a thrilling finish.
Without a bench and the Raiders coming home hard, Magpies’ coach Dean Stone pleaded for his side to dig deep, play their style of football and don’t stop chasing.
The Magpies listened and booted 2.5 to 0.1 slamming the door shut on the match, overcoming brutal attack on the ball from Raiders.
Dylan Van Berlo and Zac Hedin played vital roles across half back, sweeping through the midfield to intercept Raider possessions, while the like of Craig Evans, Jessie Smith and Nick Richards provided plenty of run and drive through the centre square.
But best on ground well and truly belonged to Jade Cleeland who marked just about everything that came his way while also providing his midfielders with first use of the ball with deft tap work.
Despite a key result for the second-placed Magpies, the reigning premiers face Albury next weekend with a number of exclusions for another key match.
With Matt Grossman and Michael Bordignon set for an overseas holiday, injuries to Sharrock, Suckling and Richards while the senior side awaits the results of Nick Richards’ report, it leaves the Magpies potentially light on star power next Saturday.
BRUISED, battered but better.
In a game so important to both sides, Wangaratta Magpies and Wodonga Raiders put on a fiery contest at the Norm Minns Oval on Saturday which saw the Magpies run out 12-point winners.
But it wasn’t all pretty for both sides, late hits, hard tackles and a melee all sparked the crowd into voice and took a toll on how the match was played.
Joe Richards was concussed early in the second quarter sparking the melee with brother Nick placed on report and sent from the field, Mat Suckling strained his hamstring with the sever- ity still to be determined, while Daniel Sharrock has a suspected knee injury which left the Magpies without a bench for the remainder of the match and a man short for 15 minutes.
But Wangaratta won the match, largely thanks to a seven-goal to two first quarter as it burst out of the sheds.
After quarter time the Raiders lifted their intensity and scoring power, booting four goals to two in the second quarter to get the margin back to 19 points at half time with Wodonga settling quickly after the brawl.
BRUTAL AFFAIR: (Above) Magpies’ utility Frazer Dent smothers Raiders’ Daniel Bowles’ shot on goal.
(Left) Magpies’ backman Ben Douthie swoops on to a ground ball with Raiders’ captain Jydon Neagle closing in on him.
(Right) Magpie Mitch Jensen and Raiders’ Brodie Filo contest the ball.
CONCUSSED: Joe Richards.