North Wagga kick 13 goals in second quarter to dominate CSU Bushpigs

CLUTCHING: North Wagga midfielder Lachie Highfield leaves CSU's Clay Hamblin in his wake during the Saints' convincing win. Picture: Les Smith

CLUTCHING: North Wagga midfielder Lachie Highfield leaves CSU's Clay Hamblin in his wake during the Saints' convincing win. Picture: Les Smith

North Wagga destroyed CSU in a single quarter at Peter Hastie Oval on Saturday, scoring 83 points to one in the second term on the way to another convincing win.

The teams exchanged two goals each in the first quarter before the Saints went on their rampage to set up a 24.11 (155) to 9.6 (60) victory.

They kicked 13 unanswered goals, and CSU didn’t have to be superstitious to know they were all out of luck by halftime. 

Daniel Jordan was their biggest headache, claiming five goals in the second quarter feast, kicking every second until they’d racked up 10. 

If the Bushpigs had no answer to the second-quarter onslaught, coach Daniel Athanitis suggested one at half-time, throwing their forwards down back and the defenders forward.

And it worked, with Jack Thompson-Gardener (three goals) getting some scoreboard reward for his relentless efforts of recent weeks along with Alex Reilly (two goals).

CSU actually outscored the visitors in the third term before North Wagga finished them off with a 45-point fourth quarter.

Jordan brought up his half-dozen and midfielder Lachie Highfield and forward Alex Grozinger racked up four each as the Saints reinforced their reputation as the form team of the league.

“They’re a bit of a bogey team for us and they played some good patches – in the first quarter they were first to the footy and their aggression was better than ours,” North Wagga coach Kirk Hamblin said.

“I was happy with how our midfield operated. We got on top in the clearances (after quarter-time), that goes a long way and we were able to feed the ball forward.”

Ominously, North Wagga have Tim Barry to come back into first grade. After work commitments kept him out of their last two games, he returned in reserve grade, where he kicked six. 

In his absence, Hamblin took the opportunity to start Jordan at full-forward rather than in defence.

A minor knee injury to full-back Brayden Skeers in the third quarter added further disruption for North Wagga’s defence but Chad Hamblin and Matt Thomas – who was their best – steadied the ship.

“It was a bit of a challenge, a bit of a slapped together backline with DJ forward and Brayden going down,” Hamblin said. 

“It threw the boys out a bit but our more experienced players stood up.”

Skeers is expected to be back next week while the coach is hoping to recover from a shoulder concern. 

Hamblin pointed out there was room for improvement, including with discipline after giving away some free kicks in the third quarter.

But he’s not knocking their seven wins from eight games so far, which has the Saints sitting second, behind Marrar on percentage.

“All in all, I’m stoked with how we’re travelling,” Hamblin said.

“To let only one game slip, against a decent side away at, Temora. And we’ve had five away games so to be in this position, it’s a reward for effort for the boys.”

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