WAGGA Tigers captain-coach Matt Rava revealed the driving force behind his team after they cast aside another premiership contender at Robertson Oval on Saturday.
Tigers enjoyed their seventh straight victory with a 27-point win over Coolamon, 12.11 (83) to 8.8 (56).
Coolamon enjoyed a big second quarter to put themselves back in the contest at half-time, only for Tigers to run away with five goals to one after the break.
Rava revealed after the win that early exits from finals over the last few years has his Tigers team motivated to go all the way this season.
He said the belief is there at Tigers that they can win the premiership.
“Yeah definitely, I think last year we built a lot of belief and we didn’t follow through with it at the end of the year,” Rava said.
“I think it hurt a fair few boys.
“We’re another year stronger again, the bodies have grown a bit and a couple of years in a row finishing fourth, the boys are sick of it so we really think with the competition being so even that we are a chance.
“As long as we’re willing to work for each other, which is what we’re doing at the moment.”
Tigers dominated the opening term to lead by 17 points at quarter-time but Coolamon responded strongly to hit the lead in the second term.
Tigers held a four-point advantage at the main break, and that was as close as Coolamon got, with the Hoppers only managing one goal in the second half.
Rava loves the way his team is responding when challenged.
“It’s been a great second half of the year, we talk about building, we have little plateaus here and there but we seem to be able to step up when it counts.
“We still haven’t played our best footy, I don’t think, but we’re ticking over the wins, which is good.”
Rava was very good for Tigers, as was ruckman Brad Graham.
Lachie Myers, Scott Pearce and Campbell Lovell were others to shine.
Mitch McKelvie was very good for the Hoppers, while Luke Redfern also gave them spark.
WAGGA TIGERS (83)
4.5 7.6 10.9 12.11
2.0 7.2 8.4 8.8
Goals: (Wagga Tigers) J Buchanan 4, F Inglis 3, B Morton 2, S Flanigan, A Durnan, M Rava; (Coolamon) J Maddox 3, S Glyde 2, M McKelvie 2, C Neyland.
Best: (Wagga Tigers) L Myers, B Graham, C Lovell, M Rava, J Osbeiston, S Pearce; (Coolamon) H Bradley, P McGrath, M McKelvie, L Redfern, C Neyland, R Chamberlain.
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