COOLAMON remain ahead in the race for the fifth spot in finals courtesy of a hard-fought victory over Turvey Park on Saturday.
The Hoppers were in serious trouble at half-time when down by 26 points but they produced a big second half to keep their finals hopes alive, winning 14.15 (99) to 9.18 (72) at Maher Oval.
Coolamon kicked 12 goals to three in the second half to run out 27-point winners.
The loss put an end to the Bulldogs’ faint finals hopes, while it was an important four points for the Hoppers, who stay in fifth with just two rounds remaining.
Coolamon coach Matt Hard admitted the win did not come without a serious scare.
“I was very concerned at half-time,” Hard said.
“But I think that’s just footy this year. It’s such an even competition and there are no easy games anymore and that was a really good display of it.
“We probably haven’t started like that for a long time, the first two quarters were definitely a concern, but in saying that, to kick 12 goals to three after half-time showed that when we play the footy that we’re capable of, we’re never out of it.”
Coolamon started with a strong breeze but were unable to capitalise and only led by two points at quarter time.
The Bulldogs then came out and dominated the second quarter. They led by 26 points at the main break and it could have been more had they kicked straight in front of goal.
A Matt Hard spray hit the mark at half-time as Coolamon came out and kicked seven unanswered goals in the third term.
They led by 14 points going into the final term, and kicked another five goals to seal the win.
Hard was rapt with the way his team responded in the second half.
“They showed a lot of character,” he said.
“Turvey threw everything at us, which we knew they would.
“It was a good one to get away with in the end, really. We showed some character in the end to respond.”
Marshal Macauley dominated across half-back and was best-on-ground in Coolamon’s win.
Roy Kantilla and Joe Redfern worked well in attack. Kantilla kicked five, while Redfern booted three and got better as the game went on.
Ryan Allen stepped into the midfield after half-time and had a big influence on the contest. Unfortunately he copped a high shot late in the game and was taken to hospital with concussion.
John Hoey and Jeremy Sykes were Turvey Park’s best on a frustrating day. The Bulldogs finish the year with games against Wagga Tigers and Griffith.