A combination of hunger, speed and resilience has delivered the Farrer League their second interleague success in three seasons.
Journeying across the border into Victoria, the Farrer League emerged triumphant over the Ovens and King League on Saturday, with an impressive 14.16 (100) to 11.7 (73) win at Wangaratta.
Coach Ryan Forsyth, in his first year in charge, said commitment was the cornerstone of victory.
“They were hungry,” Forsyth said. “We had the runners, but there were plenty of times that players, who by their frame, you wouldn’t expect them to be as hard at it as they are. But they were just hungry. And their second and third efforts were just another level.”
Ovens and King opened with the first couple of goals but Farrer maintained their poise and worked their way into the game, for a narrow quarter-time lead.
And on the wide open spaces of W.J. Findlay Oval, they opened up the opposition with a six-goal second quarter to take a 20-point lead to the main break. More telling, they’d enjoyed 19 scoring shots to nine.
Northern Jets backman Alex Rogers was outstanding. His run out of defence, along with Marrar youngster Jack Reynolds, was critical in Farrer getting their game plan into action.
“We did out-run them,” Forsyth said. “Probably going into the game, knowing they had a couple of big bodies was a slight concern but the fact that our midfielders stood up played into our favour because we had those running players.”
If the road to victory was built in the second quarter, it was under siege in the third as Ovens and King came storming back.
“We were under the pump, we just couldn’t get it past our half-forward line and they were just banging it in,” Forsyth said.
“They would’ve had a heap of inside-50s and our defence was just sensational so it kept us a couple of goals in front. And the fourth quarter was awesome, we just ran over the top of them.”
Key defenders Matt Bernasconi and Charlie Vallance stood tall when the pressure came which allowed the mobile Rogers and Reynolds to set up play.
Combined with the speed of Cayden Winter and Corey Watt, and the work of midfielders Ben Absolum and Sam Jensen, the Farrer forwards could capitalise.
Temora’s in-form Matt Harpley finished with three goals while Rob Herzfeld, Brad Moye and Luke Cuthbert all kicked two goals.
Harpley’s club team-mates Luke Gerhard and Chase Grintell – who also went through the ruck – had big games.
But Rogers was a stand-out.
“It was pretty hard to single blokes out but Alex Rogers was awesome all game,” Forsyth said. “He was sensational. He won best-on-ground for us, playing on half-back, he didn’t miss a target. As soon as we won the footy, he found space and we kept on going through him, he was great.”
Forsyth praised the team performance saying the Farrer League’s consistency across the ground was probably the difference between the two teams, against an Ovens and King line-up that had some very handy individuals.
FARRER LEAGUE: 3.6, 9.10, 10.11, 14.16 (100)
OVENS AND KING: 3.1, 7.2, 9.5, 11.7 (73)
Goals: (Farrer) M Harpley 3, R Herzfeld 2, B Moye 2, L Cuthbert 2, C Winter, B Absolum, B Argus, J Margosis; (Ovens & King) K Herbert 2, A Welch 2, S Williamson 2, J Hansted, J Bihun, D Hearne, D Bruce, A Braden.
Best: (Farrer) A Rogers, B Absolum, C Vallance, M Bernasconi, C Grintell, L Gerhard; (Ovens & King) K Herbert, J Amery, J Bihun, S Williamson, K Norman.