Tigers trump Cats

North Gambier has returned to the winner’s list at an important time in the 2022 Bendigo Bank Western Border Football League season after trumping Casterton Sandford on Saturday.

With third spot on the ladder up for grabs, both teams saw Saturd’as clash as important for different reasons.

The Cats wanted to prove they could match the top three teams from last year, while the Tigers were hungry to taste the winning feeling again after three straight losses.

On home turf at Vansittart Park, North hit the ground running to seize the initiative early.

The trusty left boot of Sam Stafford opened the scoring for the yellow and black, while the opportunistic Hamish Telford and Justin McConnell tripled the lead before the Victorians could blink.

As usual Nick McInerney had his head down at the forward line and was able to keep running even when multiple Casterton Sandford players were trying to tackle him.

The hosts were able to build pressure at all points of the ground with their fast leg speed and ball movement catching the Cats flat footed.

Casterton Sandford was able to hit the scoreboard twice, but had to work very hard for both majors.

With Stafford in fine form slotting set shots from anywhere, the Tigers continued to flex their muscles and were able to enjoy a comfortable 33-point lead by half time.

Although tempers were raised at various points, Casterton Sandford struggled to strike much fear into the hosts in the grand scheme of things.

In addition to Stafford, the likes of McConnell, Nick Blachut, McInerney and Telford were all able to hit the scoreboard regularly in a variety of ways and keep the lead growing.

By three-quarter time the game was close to complete with the Tigers’ more than 50 points up.

Tim McInerney, Jordan Hollitt and Jake Schutz were also pivotal to the performance with the backline keeping a lid on the Cats.

Only Ricky Killey with four goals was able to break free, while respective North and Casterton Sandford rucks Brett Kennedy and Hamish McCrae enjoyed productive

days making impacts around the ground.

Although the Cats managed to win the final term where the wind made an impact, the Tigers won the war convincingly 104-54 with Stafford the star kicking a six pack.

North coach Ben Hardy was happy to taste the winning feeling again and believed the team showed what it is capable of after three tight losses to West, South and Millicent.

“It was all about putting four quarters together and I was pleased the boys could do that,” he said.

“We feel like we are around the mark but have just been having some lapses where the opposition got on top.

“Casterton is a competitive, physical and contested ball winning side and we were able to nullify that in the second half.

“I was really pleased with how our back six worked to set things up behind the play and help out our mids and forwards which went a long way towards the win.”

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