Temora will be among the keenest observers of next week’s Marrar-North Wagga encounter after sewing up third spot on the ladder with a 74-point win against Barellan in their last game of the regular season.
In a high-scoring affair for a wet day, the Kangaroos won 20.20 (140) to 10.6 (66) to confirm their spot and, after next week’s bye, will take on the loser of the Bombers-Saints game in a qualifying final.
Just as importantly, they avoided any new injuries, although Jake Wooden Anthony Atkin and Colby Poole were all late withdrawals with minor complaints.
It was a consistent effort as Temora built on a two-goal lead at quarter-time to be up by 35 points at half-time and 59 at the last change.
“I thought the boys played extremely well for the conditions. It was very wet and misty and after half-time it bucketed down,” coach Wooden said.
“We dropped off a bit in the last quarter and Barellan kicked four goals, which was a bit frustrating because that cost us against North Wagga and we can't afford to do it in finals. But our stoppages were good and we worked well off the contest which we’ll need to do against whoever we play next.”
Rob Krause in the midfield continued his purple patch of form to help lay a platform for victory.
“He played exceptionally well. He got a lot of tough ball. He’s been playing well for the last month and he got a lot of footy today and used the ball well to put blokes into space,” Wooden said.
Charlie Vallance was also oustanding at centre-half-forward for the second week in a row while Matt Wallis kicked four goals to finish on 63 for the season.
It puts him just one ahead of North Wagga’s Daniel Jordan, who kicked seven at The Rock on Saturday and has one game left to play – meaning the league’s leading goalkicker award will also be decided next week at Marrar.
Temora’s win was also a fine way to celebrate club legend Damien Ponting’s 250th first grade game, with the veteran kicking three goals himself.
“It was pretty emotional for ‘Rambo’ today – he led the boys out and he spoke before the game,” Wooden said. “He said it wasn’t about him, it was to lock in our top three spot.
“He’s put his heart and soul into this club and hopefully we can send him out on a good note.”