Saints no match for the Ea­gles

Mansfield Courier - - Sport - By DAMIAN SMITH

Mans­field 2.1 3.4 5.6 7.7-49

Be­nalla 3.1 6.2 6.3 7.5-47

Mans­field (Not sup­plied)

Be­nalla: Goal Kick­ers: C. Or­chard 3, A. Walsh 2, T. Levy, J. Davies

Best Play­ers: A. Cooke, J. Davies, A. Walsh, R. Wapling, B. Pur­cell, J. Walker

THIS week, we wel­comed the Be­nalla Saints to the Mans­field Re­cre­ation Re­serve for a round 15 clash that was go­ing to be a tight af­fair, as we beat them by one point ear­lier in the sea­son at their home deck and they would be fired up to go one bet­ter this time.

With overnight rain mak­ing the ground a bit wet the team that was pre­pared to be first to the ball and put their body on the line was go­ing to go a long way to win­ning this game.

The first quar­ter was a very scrappy af­fair from our point of view with ba­sic han­dling er­rors, very lit­tle talk and bad de­ci­sions with the ball gift­ing the op­po­si­tion pos­ses­sion and score­board ad­van­tage.

The sec­ond quar­ter was a lit­tle bet­ter, with JJ and Muzz start­ing to get their share of the ball and driv­ing it into our for­ward line, which was still not func­tion­ing with too many play­ers mov­ing into space and not leav­ing any room for Gus and Jim to lead into.

De­spite the best ef­forts of the back­line we were outscored for the quar­ter lead­ing to Be­nalla hav­ing a handy 16 point lead at half­time.

With the ground dry­ing out af­ter half­time we had a crack in the sec­ond half with Archie get­ting on top in the ruck, JJ con­tin­u­ing his good form for the year with plenty of tack­ling and pres­sure on the op­po­si­tion set­ting the tone for the rest of the team to fol­low.

Backs had a good quar­ter re­strict­ing Be­nalla to one point for the quar­ter through hard work from

Mitch on a cou­ple of oc­ca­sions when he de­nied Be­nalla cer­tain scores on his own, with Colby and Trent do­ing their bit along with Corey.

With a bet­ter func­tion­ing for­ward set up we man­aged to outscore the op­po­si­tion in the sec­ond half.

With the likes of Gus do­ing body work and bring­ing the ball to ground if he could not mark it for Con­nor, who had his best game for the year as a crumb­ing for­ward, putting plenty of pres­sure on the op­po­si­tion backs through his tack­ling, and man­aged to snare him­self three goals for the match.

An­other kid who had a good end to the game was Fletch, who has shown us glimpses of what tal­ent he has - whether as a for­ward or in the ruck - through­out the year.

In the last quar­ter with about six min­utes to go in the game, Fletch had a good lead up con­tested mark and kick into the for­ward line that re­sulted in the goal that sealed the match for us, with a two point win­ning mar­gin this time.

Huey also had a bet­ter game, with a cou­ple of tack­les and also nearly kicked his first goal for the sea­son.

With an­other must win game against Shep­par­ton United next week at Deakin Re­serve, we need to keep turn­ing up to train­ing and im­prov­ing on our skills; who knows where we might end up at the end of the sea­son.

PHOTOS: Paul Martin

QUICK: Colby Crox­ford-De­masi (above) just sec­onds away from be­ing taken down by a Saint player and (LEFT) Jen­son Curtin taps the ball out of the Saints’ play­ers reach.

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