Border Mail Round 11 – Review
BILLABONG Crows continued its giant-killing run with a thrilling two-point win against premiership contender Osborne at Urana on Saturday.
After upsetting finals contender Henty several weeks ago, the Crows claimed the massive scalp of Osborne with a 8.7 (55) to 8.5 (53) victory.
Clinging onto a nine-point lead at the final change the Crows withstood the Tigers’ fightback who managed to kick the only goal in the final term.
Despite getting within less than a kick midway through the final quarter, the Tigers couldn’t land the knockout blow.
Crows defender Logan Kerr alongside Bronson Schofield and Harry Stonnill were outstanding in the blustery conditions.
Forward Ryan Davies rated the victory the Crows’ finest of the season so far.
“It’s certainly our biggest win of the season,” Davies said.
“To beat Henty was a good effort but we realise they were missing some quality that day.
“It was a really tough, hard-fought game of footy played in blustery conditions.
“We went in there with a game plan which we thought could beat them if we were able to execute it.
“We were able to do that and will take a lot of confidence out of the win.”
Coach Al Austin was also pivotal in the win after booting four goals.
Austin has been switched forward in the past fortnight with the Crows’ leading goalkicking Josh Evans missing with injury.
The loss is a major blow to the Tigers’ top-two aspirations.
The Crows sit fourth and look assured on contesting their first finals series since crossing from the Coreen league.
NINTH-placed Howlong stormed back into finals calculations with a surprise eight-point victory over Henty at Howlong on Saturday.
Howlong coach Beau Packer said it was pleasing to close out the game after being in matches against Osborne, Holbrook and Culcairn in recent weeks.
“We’ve played well in patches but just let our guard down at different stages and it’s cost us.
“It was great to play a good brand of footy and stay in the mix for the finals.
“It was a really important win for us in that regard.”
The victory leaves Howlong just four premiership points and percentage behind sixth-placed Henty with a much easier run to the finals.
The Spiders take on Rand-Walbundrie-Walla, CDHBU, Lockhart and Billabong Crows in the next month in a run which will ultimately decide their season.
Ben Baker, Matt McDonald and Steve Jolliffe were outstanding at ground level for Howlong while Peter Hancock took control of the ruck.
Alex Popko restricted Damian Cupido to three goals and skipper Blake Williams thrived in the slippery conditions.
The Spiders will regain Matt Lee from suspension on Saturday.
Henty held an eight-point lead at three quarter-time but Jared Brennan, Josh Singe and James Ellis lacked the support to hold out Howlong who had the wind in the final term.
Rand-Walbundrie-Walla proved too strong for Jindera, winning by 47 points at Walbundrie.
With Josh Star kicking three goals in the opening term, the Giants stormed out of the blocks and were never threatened as they posted win number five for the season.
Ryan Lavery, Tom Plunkett, Tom Holman, Brian Lieschke, Myles Aalbers and Chris Duck were in everything while Jindera ruckman Mitch Lawrence was the Bulldogs’ best performer.
Culcairn scored an impressive 75-point win over Lockhart at Lockhart.
The Lions picked up some handy percentage by kicking eight goals in the final term with Adam Prior dominating at full-forward.
He kicked eight majors and was fed by Tim Hallinan and Jye Shields.
Lockhart sorely missed veteran ruckman Neil Irwin and lost Wagga Tigers recruit Harry Bennett with a broken hand.
Bennett’s brother, Ash, played well on debut.