North Wagga bounce back from a heavy loss to hammer Temora by 11 goals in top-three encounter

THE EYES HAVE IT: North Wagga's Corey Watt tries to get the Saints going forward as Temora midfielder Kieran Shea closes in at McPherson Oval on Saturday. Picture: Kieren L Tilly

THE EYES HAVE IT: North Wagga's Corey Watt tries to get the Saints going forward as Temora midfielder Kieran Shea closes in at McPherson Oval on Saturday. Picture: Kieren L Tilly

This season’s Farrer League competition needs a public nudity warning. 

A week after having their pants pulled down at The Rock, North Wagga exposed Temora, destroying the Kangaroos by 11 goals at McPherson Oval on Saturday. 

In a stunning turnaround, last week’s 60-point losers became this week’s 66-point winners as the Saints produced one of their most consistent games of the year for a 17.8 (110) to 6.8 (44) win. 

“It’s just attitude really,” Saints coach Kirk Hamblin said. 

“The first thing Jake (Wooden, Temora coach) said to me afterwards was, ‘You just wanted it more’ and that’s how I felt last week against The Rock – they just wanted it more.

“But today the boys come and you can count as many stats as you want but at the end of the day pressure acts are what win you games of footy.”

There was little hint early of what was about to unfold, as Temora kicked two goals in five minutes – to Kane Peeters and Matt Harpley – and the Roos had hit their leading goalkicker cleanly twice in a row. 

But North Wagga composed themselves at the back, through Chad Hamblin, Tariku Fitzgerald-Holmes and Daniel Jordan, and started to win their share of ball in the middle.

“They started the game really well, they were obviously full of confidence – they’d won four on the trot – but I just thought our back six were incredible,” Kirk Hamblin said. “That’s where our drive’s come from all year and it’s probably been missing the last three or four weeks. To see them get back to their best was really pleasing.”

It wasn’t until the 16th minute that Jed Winter kicked North Wagga’s first goal but two more in time-on gave the Saints an eight-point lead at the first break. 

Peeters reduced it to two points with a snap from the pocket after the break but the Saints blew the game open with five straight goals.

Coach Kirk Hamblin led from the front with some key touches and the Saints limited the involvement of Temora midfielder Stephen Camp. He was held to four possessions in the second term after having nine in a dominant first quarter.

While Harpley and Peeters had two each for the Roos, North Wagga had eight individual goalkickers in the first half and their dominance continued in the third term with four goals to one. 

Throwing Charlie Vallance forward and Matt Harpley into the ruck couldn’t snap Temora into action. Not every umpiring decision went their way either, but while North Wagga were making their own luck, the Roos struggled to put a foot right.

They missed Sam Jensen through the middle and losing Wooden to injury for most of the game again didn’t help, despite Daniel Hespe, Luke Gerhard, Brayden Ambler and Camp’s efforts to get them going.

As well as the veteran Hamblin brothers, the Saints had the young Winter siblings standing up. Cayden kicked two goals and Jed finished with three, with his last coming only a minute after a crowd-pleasing display of candy-selling right in front of the Saints supporters. 

Hamblin said they enjoyed being back on a dry track and their home turf but there’s no doubt the most important real estate in the game is between a footballer’s ears.

“If you don’t come ready to play, don’t show up, it can turn bad for you pretty quickly and we found that out last week,” he said. 

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