Round 3 2021 – Review

HOLBROOK has overcome a crippling injury toll and a seven goal haul from Howlong’s Ash Murray to beat the Spiders by 38-points at Howlong on Saturday.

The winless Spiders were desperate to open their winning account and were able to match the visitors in the first-half courtesy of some accurate kicking after posting 8.1 during the first-half.

But the Brookers’ overall class shone through as the match wore on, booting nine goals to four to run out comfortable 18.6 (114) to 12.4 (76) winners.

The victory could come at a cost with star recruit Luke Gestier (hamstring), Lachie Holmes (knee) and ruckman Ben Griffiths (concussion) all injured before three-quarter-time.

The trio are considered to be in serious doubt for this week’s testing assignment against Rand-Walbundrie-Walla.

Brookers coach Matt Sharp was relieved to escape with the four points.

“Howlong at Howlong is always a dangerous proposition and they were fantastic on the weekend,” Sharp said.

“Especially the first-half their intensity was high and they were first to the ball.

“The scoreline at half-time probably flattered us a little bit to be honest and I was a bit worried about the second-half.

“It was a gutsy win in the end after we copped a few injuries and finished without a bench.

“But full credit to the boys – their will to win was fantastic.

Griffiths was making his debut for the Brookers after more than five years away from the game.

The big man showed some promising signs in the ruck before being concussed and provides Sharp with the luxury of having two genuine ruckmen alongside youngster Randal Taylor.

Standing at 195cm, the athletic Griffiths also boasts a huge leap.

Corey McCarthy was the standout for the visitors and racked up a stack of possessions playing in the midfield and on a wing.

Defender Nick Locke has also played limited football over the past few seasons but showed glimpses of his ability and will only get better as the season progresses.

North Albury recruit Justin Bishop, Andrew Dear and Will Holmes with four goals were also damaging.

Murray played his best match for the Spiders since crossing from Bullioh with seven goals.

Recruit David Goodwin, Manny Hughes and Hamish Clark also battled hard.

Brock-Burrum tried valiantly to bridge the gap but the Giants had all the answers on their way to a 13.15 (93) to 12.4 (76) win.

Although the Saints have been handed a tough draw, they have slipped to tenth on the ladder and face a must win clash against Billabong Crows on Saturday.

They could also be without Damian Cupido who only kicked one goal in the third quarter before hobbling off with a leg injury.

The veteran spearhead was well held by Lieschke but highlighted his undoubted talent with his only goal of the match.

Cupido took a contested mark 50m when he appeared to injure his leg.

He slotted the goal on his opposite foot before heading to the bench for the remainder of the match.

Coach Lucas Mellier was happy with how the Giants responded after having their pants pulled down by Osborne the previous week.

“It was an important win against a finals contender,” Mellier said.

“Osborne highlighted a few of our deficiencies which we were able to work on during the week.

“But to be honest we moved on fairly quickly and I told the boys matches like that don’t define you as a team for the rest of the season.

“We were able to execute our game plan fairly well in the first-half and set up the win.

“But Brock-Burrum are a proud club and we expected them to challenge hard in the second-half but we were able to withstand that.”

The battle between Azzi medallist Matt Seiter and Jack Duck in the ruck proved to be an intriguing sideshow.

The pair were endured an absorbing battle with both among their sides better players.

While Duck is undersized most weeks, what he lacks in size he makes up with heart and determination and is admired by his teammates.

The Giants are set to be boosted by the inclusion of Thurgoona recruits Jake Bruce and Mark Haydon when they host Holbrook on Saturday.