“We know we can match them but the job ain’t done,” Marrar bench coach Danny Malone said at half time, with just five points separating them from competition leaders East Wagga-Kooringal on Saturday at Langtry Oval.
A flat start from the Hawks ignited the hopes of Marrar however East Wagga-Kooringal lifted in the third quarter forging a commanding lead and finishing on top, 11.7 (73) to 5.10 (40).
In the first half Marrar’s persistence in the ruck granted the team opportune moments in front of goals.
The Hawks played patiently in the second quarter, applying pressure, and capitalising from a number of errors, snatching it quickly as it slipped through the hands of a Marrar player.
The intensity rose as East Wagga-Kooringal lifted their tackle rate from 14 in the first half to 36 in the second half.
It was a physical match, and at times a little rough, with the umpire employing a handy tactic to break up a brawl; bouncing the ball. Players stopped fighting and dispersed to focus on the game.
It was pleasing to watch East Wagga-Kooringal’s teamwork, switching the ball when required, threading it from the back to the front of the pitch along the wing in an autonomous fashion, completely unfazed by Marrar’s pressure.
Jake Robinson proved handy for East Wagga-Kooringal; always in the thick of the action, challenging multiple opponents for possession and coming up trumps.
Marrar’s Bradley Turner took on the league’s leading goal-scorer, East Wagga-Kooringal’s Marc Geppart, covering him in the first half to reduce the minimize the Hawks’ impact on the scoreboard. When Turner was removed from the back line in the third quarter, Geppart had more freedom upfront, kicking two goals in quick succession.
In the final quarter Marrar regularly brought the ball into the attacking zone but they struggled to convert.
Marrar coach Nic Casey copped an earful when he missed his second easy goal-scoring opportunity. The crowd and opposition players heckled Casey loudly when kicked it out on the full.
East Wagga Kooringal
1.2, 3.4, 9.6, 11.7 (73)
1.3, 2.5, 4.9, 5.10 (40)
Goals: (East Wagga Kooringal) Nicholas Hull 4, Marc Geppert 4, Ryan Campbell 2, Ben Absolum (Marrar) Josh Hagar 2, Bradley Langtry, Matthew Molkentin, Tyler Cunningham.
Best: (East Wagga Kooringal) Nicholas Hull, Jake Robinson, Brenton Roberts, Trent Garner, Ryan Campbell, Marc Geppert; (Marrar) Bradley Langtry, Bradley Turner, Tyler Cunningham, Clinton Taylor, Joshua Hanlon, Joel Kelly