NORTH Wagga forward Jimmy Morris steered his team to a dramatic victory against Temora on Saturday, making the most of a contentious free kick to goal with seconds on the clock.
With his side down by a point, Morris kicked truly from out wide, just a minute after he'd hit the post from a similar position, to deliver Saints an 8.10 (58) to 8.5 (53) win at McPherson Oval.
"'Mozza' is one of our best shots so I was pretty confident. But I was confident when he hit the post on the first one," North Wagga coach Kirk Hamblin said.
"I wasn't game to watch but I was still confident on the second one and he ended up getting it which was good... He's been chopped and changed a bit this year, with us losing our ruckman last year, but I thought he really stood up today against a quality opponent in Max Richardson."
It was a heart-stopping finale to a game that struggled to hit any great heights in the first three quarters, with neither side able to take control for long.
And it was a heart-breaking finish for Temora who led by 11 points early in the last quarter, lost it, then snatched the lead back midway through the term. Sam Jensen marked strongly 50 metres out and made the most of a 50m penalty, after North Wagga defender Ben Alexander careered into his back following the grab.
A yellow card ended Alexander's involvement in the game, and Temora's three-point lead looked being enough when a Josh May shot, and then Morris, both hit the post.
However, the key forward made no mistake with a second chance to grab his third goal and North Wagga grabbed a valuable four points at the ground where earlier this year they lost after the siren to East Wagga-Kooringal.
" It's a lot better feeling winning the close ones than losing them," Hamblin said with a grin.
"We hadn't played that well all day but I felt like in the last quarter we had plenty of play and lots of opportunities and we were just lucky enough that 'Mozza' was able to kick the goal at the end.
"It was a win on effort. It wasn't pretty but we had 21 blokes out there who just kept working and got the job done."
The biggest margin all day was 15 points to Temora in the first quarter and the lead swapped hands at every break. But North Wagga found enough to finish on top, becoming only the second team to knock over the Roos this year, and open up a four-point break on both Temora and Marrar.
Cayden Winter was non-stop through the midfield while full-back Brayden Skeers produced yet another big game. As well as closing down Matt Harpley, he had a huge play in the last quarter, marking in their defensive 50, switching the play and then having another touch to send his side into an attacking position.
For Temora, Jensen worked hard and lifted his team with his two goals in the third and fourth quarters, both of which regained the lead, while Jeffery Mannell was tireless.
The Kangaroos have to pick themselves up to tackle ladder leaders East Wagga-Kooringal next week while North Wagga face the trip to Ariah Park to tackle the fifth-placed Northern Jets.
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