THE Riverina Anglican College began their Carroll Cup defence in fine style with a tense 5.1 (31) to 4.5 (29) win over Mater Dei Catholic College at Robertson Oval on Wednesday night.
Mater Dei had the better chances early, but couldn't convert and TRAC made them pay with the only three goals of the first term.
Down 16 points at halftime, Mater Dei kicked the only two goals of the third quarter through skipper Baxter Wallett and small forward Flynn Collins to get within three points at three quarter time.
With six minutes left in the match, Collins kicked a superb goal from deep in the pocket to give Mater Dei a four point lead.
However TRAC pulled the game out of the fire with a goal to Jack Glanvill, and held out Mater Dei for the final few minutes.
"In the first half we took our chances and they had some unlucky misses," stand-in TRAC coach Patrick Harris said.
"It was a very tough contest and both teams put a lot of pressure on.
"We asked the midfield to lift when they got in front. They're the major driver of our team and they dug deep."
In the end a goal umpiring decision to award Collins a behind when he felt he kicked a goal, which would have levelled the scores at three quarter time, was pivotal.
But Mater Dei coach Nathan Irvine said it was their own wastefulness, particularly early, which let them down.
"We started really well but kicked three points and they kicked three goals," Irvine said.
"We missed targets and turned the ball over, sometimes things go way your and sometimes they don't."
In the opening match Kooringal High School had to dig deep to overcome a plucky Wagga High School by two goals.
In a scrappy affair scores were level at 2.3 (15) apiece at half-time, but Kooringal's Luke Lawrence effectively was the difference, booting two of his three goals in the second half to secure a 5.6 (36) to 3.6 (24) victory.
Four minutes into the second half Lawrence kicked his second goal, dribbling it through from about 40 metres out.
Ryan Marshall then pounced to toe one through from the goal square to extend Kooringal's lead to two goals at three quarter time.
"I think it was a really competitive game. You could tell it was the first game and both teams will only get better," Kooringal coach Andrew Schmetzer said.
"Luke Lawrence took control of the game, and Luke McGowan and Seb Rodet certainly did well.
"It wasn't a pretty game but the boys did enough and worked pretty hard for it in the end."
Wagga High's new coach Robert McLay said they paid for failing to take advantage of scoring chances early.
"Luke Lawrence was probably the difference, but in the first half we could have converted our chances a bit better," he said.
"I thought we had the better of it in the first half, and we could have put some scoreboard pressure on."
TRAC 3.0 4.1 4.1 5.1 (31)def MATER DEI 0.3 1.3 3.4 4.5 (29)
Goals: TRAC - Sidney Lewton 2, Jack Rudd, Jack Glanvill, Luke Naumann; Mater Dei - Flynn Collins 2, Harrison Wheeler, Baxter Wallett,
Best: TRAC - Tom Kerrisk, Jack Glanvill, Geordie Charleson, Connor McKinley, Tom Howard, LIam Burns;Mater Dei - William Voss, Tom Smith, Oscar Jenkins, Baxter Wallett, Jake Hockey, Jed Guthrie
KOORINGAL HIGH 0.1 2.3 4.5 5.6 (36) def WAGGA HIGH 0.3 2.3 2.5 3.6 (24)
Goals: Kooringal High - Luke Lawrence 3, Max Willis, Ryan Marshall; Wagga High - Angus Clark, Jordan Saffery, Hugh Bent.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.