West Gambier’s special premiership reunion party was slightly dampened by a clinical performance from North Gambier in the 10th round of Western Border football on Saturday.
It was a grand occasion at Malseed Park with members from all three of home side’s premiership winning teams gathered in a mega Roos’ reunion.
The modern day West outfit appeared to be inspired by the presence of the 1971, 2010 and 11 players by kicking the opening two goals.
However, the tide turned quickly as the Tigers dominated the remainder of the first term to carry a 10-point lead at quarter time.
The Roos struggled to cope with North’s pressure as intercepts significantly hurt the home side.
West found life tough exiting the defensive 50 as there was often a Tiger in the way as the visitors regained position and rebounded towards goal regularly.
The result was a scoreless second term for the Roos as the classy skills of young gun Austin Kitschke tore it up around the ground for the visitors.
Luke Powell controlled the ruck contests as defenders Jake Schutz and Tim McInerney remained thorns in the hosts’ side, while Tom McLennan was also pivotal in the half forward line.
After Ben Papps broke the goal-scoring drought for the Roos, they managed to stay in touch keeping the deficit to around the 20-point mark.
The likes of Lawry Bradley-Brown and Todd Lewis showcased their toughness by sliding into the hard bench walls and brushed it off like nothing had happened.
However, any hopes of a West fight-back were dashed just 20 seconds into the final quarter when North coach Justin McConnell kicked truly.
McConnell and McLennan both finished with three majors each as aside from a couple of Lewis goals against the run of play, the final term was all one-way traffic as the Tigers sealed a 39-point win.
North co-captain Nick McInerney said his side’s ability to force the Roos into mistakes played a significant role in the result.
“I did believe we had the ascendancy early, but West managed to score quite easily at the start, but we flipped that around by pressure,” he said.
“We pressured their forward entries a lot more which made it easier for our defenders to intercept the ball and rebound from there.
“Luckily we maintained that pressure in the second half and the result could have been even better if we kicked more accurately.” Having entered the mid-season break with their heads low after two defeats, the win could not have arrived at a better time for the Tigers.
McInerney said his side worked hard on the training track, determined to start the second half of the season on a strong note.
“We felt like we prepared fairly well in the time off and put ourselves in a good situation,” he said.
“We did a fair bit of match simulation, so it was good to get the hard yards in under the same pressure you would feel in a game.
“We still had time off on the weekends, but it was high quality training which was really pleasing because the break was a bit of an unknown.” Unfortunately injury struck both sides last weekend with West’s Brodie Parsons going down in a contest and North’s Sam Stafford hurting his finger.
The pair are unlikely to play in round 11 where the Tigers face Casterton Sandford and the Roos take on East Gambier.