Jets grounded by superb performance by Cougars

Assigned: Churchill's Kurt Holt had the job of quelling the influence of Yallourn Yallourn North power forward Keenan Hughes for a period at the weekend. file photograph



REBOUNDING off their worst performance of the 2022 season, Churchill put an end to Yallourn Yallourn North’s winning streak in Round 6 of the North Gippsland Football-Netball League with a stirring 13-point victory at Gaskin Park.
The Cougars won 14.11 (95) to 11.16 (82).
A six goal to two opening salvo saw the home side take an even four goal lead into the first break.
It was all Churchill early with goals to Ben Kearns and Ben Skinner setting the tone before the Jets finally hit the scoreboard at the 22 minute mark through Josh Keyhoe.
A follow up major to Keenan Hughes saw the Cougars lead reduced to three goals after 26 minutes of play.
Seemingly content to take that margin into the break, Jets coach Barrie Burnett released key forwards Hughes and Mitch Luck to play behind the ball for the remainder of the term.
A piercing pass from best on ground Chris Williams however dissected the eight man Jet defence and found makeshift forward Chris Wangman 30 metres out directly in front. Wangman kicked truly and registered the first of his four for the day to end the opening quarter.
Churchill looked to have their match-ups on the money with co-coach Jordan Fenech tasked with stopping YYN goal kicking machine Dean MacDonald, Kurt Holt going with Hughes and Bailey Flanigan on Luck.
When Holt went down however with what looked to be a quad injury a shuffle up was required. Flanigan switched from Luck to Hughes with Churchill co-captain Angus Mitchell now having the job with keeping up with Luck as the second quarter got underway.
This opened things up for the visitors, however if bad kicking for goal is bad footy the Jets were guilty as charged in a second term littered with wasted chances. Tindarra Hood and MacDonald both missed gettable chances early before James De Virgilio finally found the big sticks for the Jets 10 minutes in.
This goal was quickly countered by one to Churchill through Brendan Holt who had been well held by Darcy Shelcott to this point in time. It was a much needed settler for the Cougars as the Jets were far from finished with their frustrating forward forays.
A miss to Bath on the run was followed by one from Burnett with a set shot, then it was Hughes’ turn as he missed a pair of chances. Nothing was going the way of the Jets.
And then, as if to rub their noses in it, Jake Roe-Duggan – who was a close second in the best on ground stakes – kicked an absolute ripper from the boundary for Churchill.
After having been called to play on from a set shot hard up on the boundary, Roe-Duggan got around the man on the mark, then, with pressure coming from inside he had to reel back to the boundary. With a tackler imminent Roe-Duggan threw the ball on to his foot and watched the ball work from right to left like a Mitchell Johnson in-swinger and from the tightest of angels he sent the boys in the bar into raptures.
As the half-time siren sounded to end a quarter in which the visiting side had dominated play their efforts amounted to a single goal, eight behinds with two further shots ending up out on the full. For all their opportunity they had reduced their quarter time margin by only a solitary behind to 23 points.
The third term started with each side trading goals before Hughes went back-to-back at the 11 and 12 minute mark to get the Jets within two goals. Hughes’ second goal was utterly remarkable. He contested the ruck stoppage 20 metres out from goal.
The non-controlling umpire blew a free kick so Hughes threw his left slipper at the ball mid-air, striking it perfectly and sending the ball directly through the middle of the big sticks. Advantage was called, the goal registered and the away side, players and fans, were up and about.
Not to be outdone, Cain Iorangi kicked a classic at the other end and as the three quarter time siren sounded the Jets were within 16 points and all present were in agreement – it was absolutely game on.
As if spurred by the challenge it was all Churchill to start the last.
While Roe-Duggan’s opening goal was countered by Hood’s second for the day, when Wangman kicked his fourth for the game the home side’s spectators could surely breathe a little easier.
And when Brendan Holt had the chance to extend the lead beyond four goals at the seven minute mark it was surely time to break out the winner’s beers. Alas his shot sailed wide and there was still the faintest of hopes for the travelling ladder leaders.
And when Todd Rowe, he of the long sleeves and sizzling left foot, went back-to-back for the Jets at the 24 minute mark the hope was no longer faint, it was real. The margin was under two goals and what had looked to be a game won two or three times was now again anyone’s.
The final act of an outstanding game typified the previous 120 or so minutes. New Cougar Nick Twomey took a pass around 60 metres from Churchill’s goal. He ran and carried the ball inside 50 and as his shot sailed through from 40 he was swamped by teammates and this time the game was won. Finally.
GORMANDALE was gallant in their loss to Sale City.
In a pulsating match that saw the lead change three times in last two minutes, the Bulldogs prevailed by five points 9.14 (68) to 9.9 (63).
When Dion Munkara put the Tigers ahead with less than 120 seconds on the clock it looked as though the home side was in for win number two for the season.
However, despite the best efforts of key defender Kodie Owen who chalked up best on ground number three in a row, Sale City was able to muster one last shot on goal. And when they kicked truly with only 45 seconds left the game was theirs for the keeping.
An honourable loss for a club that must surely be sick to the back teeth of them and an important win to Sale City to keep their finals hopes alive.
Blake Safstrom and Ben Chivers were best for the victors.
HAVING broken their maiden last week hopes were high for Glengarry to repeat when they welcomed a winless Heyfield to town.
And when the home side led by 14 points at the last break in a low scoring contest it seemed almost a given the Magpies would be celebrating two on the trot.
A last quarter surge from the Kangaroos however saw them kick 3.4 (22) to a solitary point and the monkey was off their back, as they claimed a 7.11 (53) to 6.10 (46) victory.
Jesse Bedggood and Xavier Woodland managed two apiece for the winners while young gun Tyson Birss and the ever reliable Adam Wallace were the best performers.
Spencer Poulton and Jackson Hall were best for Glengarry.
THE Heyfield win leaves Cowwarr the only side yet to register a victory, and sadly for the Saints their clash with Woodside was all, but over after they conceded eight first quarter goals at home.
The Saints toiled manfully from the first break onwards managing a respectable six goals to 14 across the final three terms.
Woodside recruit Lee Stockdale took no time endearing himself to his new club with a best on ground performance.
Stockdale was lively all over the ground and rounded out his game with three majors. Dave Waddell and Daniel Missen managed six and four apiece with the silver fox, Woodside coach Michael Duncan, also slotting three.
The only downside for Woodside was an early shower for Will Broadbent who must be in doubt for this week’s clash with Churchill.
Robbie Ferguson showed his class for the Saints with four majors. Shane Morgan too managed multiples, snagging a pair of goals, but it was an all too familiar scoreline for the Warr who lost 22.11 (143) to 7.5 (47).
YARRAM easily accounted for Rosedale in their clash, winning 13.14 (92) to 7.8 (50).
Corbin Sutherland was again among the goals for the Demons, kicking five for the home side.
Yarram is starting to build a side that looks more and more capable of competing at the pointy end of the season as each week passes.
Inaccuracy in front of goal prevented the Demons from a larger winning margin than the even seven goals they saluted by.
Riley Atlee and Frazar Brouns put in honest efforts for Rosedale.
TRARALGON Tyers United had the bye.