Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes too good for Wagga Tigers in 23-point win

FIRED UP: MCUE's Matt Collins and Wagga Tigers' Rob Tuohey get up close and personal at Mangoplah Sportsground on Saturday.
FIRED UP: MCUE's Matt Collins and Wagga Tigers' Rob Tuohey get up close and personal at Mangoplah Sportsground on Saturday.

MANGOPLAH-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes ensured they remain in the hunt for the minor premiership with a 23-point victory over Wagga Tigers on Saturday.

The Goannas produced an impressive second half display as Tigers’ goal-kicking woes continued, winning 10.7 (67) to 5.14 (44) at Mangoplah Sportsground.

MCUE full-forward Jordan Foster inspired the Goannas’ second half turnaround as he booted five goals in an influential performance.

Tigers had the better of the contest for large parts of the first half, but failed to capitalise on the scoreboard and went into the main break four points down.

Tigers’ woes in front of goal only got worse in the third term, as they managed 1.6, compared to MCUE’s 5.1.

Foster booted two goals inside a minute late in the third term to push MCUE’s lead to 23 points.

Tigers kicked the first two goals of the final term to draw within 11 points but the Goannas responded in style with the final two majors of the game.

MCUE coach Travis Cohalan said it was a satisfying victory.

“It’s always great to beat quality opposition like Tigers,” Cohalan said.

“They won the flag last year, we’ve got a great deal of respect for them...so we’re very happy to come away with a win.

“It was pleasing to see us respond under pressure in the last quarter and kick away.”

Cohalan believes the Goannas’ tall timber around the ground, particularly up forward, proved decisive in the result.

“We won the aerial battle and I’d say they probably won the ground battle,” he said.

“We tried to kick it long and direct, and utilise our tall options around the ground.

“At half-time, we weren’t playing well at all, it was one of our lesser halves of footy for the season, no disrespect to Tigers, because they were playing well.

“We had a frank discussion that we needed to stand up and it was probably season-defining but the boys stood up in the second half and responded to get the win.”

Foster was excellent for MCUE, as was Matt Collins across half-back.

Harry Collins played his best game of the season, while the Goannas were thrilled with the job Lachie Kendall did to shut Wagga Tigers coach Shaun Campbell out of the game.

Nick Ryan was Tigers’ best, while Jackson Kew and Shaun Driscoll were also solid in defeat.

Cohalan said, despite other results on Saturday, MCUE’s focus was on a top three finish after starting the year purely eyeing finals.