Cougars hanging on

CHURCHILL has recorded a vital 31-point victory over Traralgon Tyers United to keep its North Gippsland finals hopes alive.

It was the Bombers which fired off to a great start, with TTU’s Des Brunt opening proceedings.

TTU continued its blistering start with another goal, with Tyler Mustoe registering his first of three for the term as play concentrated in the visitor’s forward 50.

Churchill managed to break the shackles and register its first before Mustoe responded with his second major.

The Cougars recorded another goal after Joey Whykes marked strongly.

Mustoe added another to his tally, while at the other end of the ground Churchill’s Dale Patterson outmuscled his opponent to reel the margin back to a kick.

But the Bombers had the last laugh of the quarter when Brian Graham found space in a congested forward line to goal ahead of quarter-time.

Heavy rain made conditions tough in the second term.

Patterson and Brendan Holt missed early shots at goal before Mustoe was again at it making something out of nothing to draw the margin out to 19 points.

Poor disposal by the Cougars in the dying stages of the opening half proved costly, with Graham scoring what would be the Bombers’ final goal for the match.

Churchill’s Nick Celima marked inside 50 and line up for goal, while at the same time a tussle broke out on the boundary line, leaving Celima, the man on the mark and one other player to see the ball sail between the goal posts.

Churchill fought hard in the second half to get back into the game.

Holt reeled the margin back to seven points, as the backline of Scott Kelly, Jarrod Broadbent, Travis Brighton and Billy Wight shut down the Bombers’ avenues to goal.

The Cougars’ challenge was mounted by the team’s young brigade, which included Tyson Webb and Christopher Williams.

Churchill entered the final term four points ahead and it only got worse for the Bombers.

Play was halted twice in the final term for the stretcher to be called, with Graham one of the casualties, but the Cougars failed to let up as it slammed home four unanswered majors to win 14.12 (96) to 9.11 (65).

Sale City v Gormandale

A BEST on ground performance and three goals from Sale City’s Jake Schuback was the highlight of the reigning premier’s 93-point victory over Gormandale.

The Bulldogs booted 11 unanswered goals in the opening half to record a 16.18 (114) to 3.3 (21) victory.

Lighting up the forward line in past weeks, Nick Grainger scored four goals, Damien Ashcroft booted two in a stellar individual performance, while Mitch Bennett also impressed.

Heyfield v Glengarry

Drawing one of the toughest assignments on the road, fourth placed Glengarry faced Heyfield and emerged victorious.

Bursting out of the blocks the visitors looked the goods early in the contest before the Kangaroos reeled in the margin back to 14 points an even second quarter.

Heyfield rallied in the premiership term to match Glengarry on the scoreboard, but the final term belonged to the Magpies as they slammed four goals to one to run home victors, 16.19 (115) to 10.6 (66).

Lochie Little was named best on ground for the victors, with Josh King and Shaun Barnes valuable contributors.

King was the pick of the goal kickers finishing the match with a bag of seven, while Barnes chipped in with three.

Boisdale/Briagolong v Cowwarr

With plenty to play for Cowwarr’s dominance was quickly felt by Boisdale/Briagolong as the Saints laid claim to a top five berth.

Leading the Saints charge was forward Chris Stasinowsky.

The Saints dominated the forward 50 as Stasinowsky made it his own on the way to an impressive haul of 13 goals.

Cowwarr slotted home six majors in the opening term to take a 34-point lead into the first change, and continued to dominate with a 10-goal to none second term.

Sitting outside the top five, last year’s preliminary finalists failed to take their foot off in the second half, booting a further 15 majors to significantly increase their percentage with a 175 point victory, 31.16 (202) to 3.9 (27).

Rosedale v Woodside

Top of the table Rosedale made light work of Woodside, with the home side rebounding from its disappointing showing in last week’s top of the table clash.

It was going to be a daunting prospect for the bottom placed Wildcats to meet this season’s in-form side on their home turf.

As predicted the Blues came out hard, slamming home eight unanswered goals as they boasted 17 scoring shots to none in a one-sided opening term.

The going did not get any easier for the visitors; the Blues added a further five goals to their first half tally to take a commanding 84-point lead into the long break.

The script for the second half continued the same way as the first.

The Wildcats had little answer to the Blues’ structure, with Rosedale recording a percentage-boosting 23.32 (170) to 1.4 (10) victory.

Rosedale’s Andrew Flanagan led the charge on the scoreboard finishing the match with five majors, Ross McDermott added five, with Brad Caldwell adding four to his season tally.