A COUPLE of late goals deep into the final quarter helped revive North Wagga's season with a thrilling four-point win over East Wagga-Kooringal on Saturday.
The Saints registered their opening win of the season in dramatic style, storming home to grab a vital four points, downing the Hawks 10.16 (76) to 11.6 (72) at McPherson Oval.
North Wagga had their backs to the wall after three straight losses to start the Farrer League season and when the Hawks kicked the first goal of the final term to stretch their lead to nine points, the pressure was well and truly on.
But the Saints dug deep and did not hit the front until the dying minutes after back-to-back goals from Josh Thompson and then Nathan Dennis.
North Wagga then dug deep in the final few minutes to hold on for a crucial win, much to the delight of a big and vocal Saints crowd.
North Wagga coach Cayden Winter was relieved to finally break through for a win.
"It does feel good. Obviously I didn't think we'd been playing bad footy the last three weeks and to finally get a bit of reward for effort was really pleasing for the boys," Winter said.
"It shows when we do play good footy, it can happen, we just have to do it for four quarters, which we did today.
"It is (relief), that was the feeling around after, I felt it was a bit of relief because we knew we'd been putting in the hard work, training really hard, had a big pre-season and to finally get four points, it was, it was a bit of a relief."
Winter led from the front as the Saints' midfield got on top of their Hawks' counterparts for the majority of the contest.
Matt Parks rucked well, while the Saints midfield brigade of Winter, Kane Flack, Elliott Winter, Jack Flood and Corey Watt all worked hard to ensure plenty of supply for North Wagga's forwards.
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Winter thought the Saints won the game in the midfield.
"I felt like it was our clearance work," he said.
"We really got to work in there, we won clearances by a fair bit and gave our forward line first use, which was pleasing and it rolled on from there.
"I thought our work rate was really good too in the way we were able to spread and run, that was the key to our game today. It was a bit of an arm wrestle all day. I thought we were definitely the better side, we just couldn't capitalise on the scoreboard once again."
North Wagga led by a point at half-time but it could have been much more had they not been wasteful in front of goal (3.12).
EWK kicked the first couple of goals of the third term and led by as much as 16 points but North Wagga clung on and gradually worked their way back into the contest.
Josh Thompson had a good game across half-forward for the Saints, while Xavier Lyons earned high praise for his stopping role on EWK's Nico Sedgwick.
Jeremy Piercy was strong in defeat for the Hawks, while Harry Fitzsimmons battled hard all day.
North Wagga lost Ben Keith (ankle) to injury, while the Hawks lost Tom Pocock (back) and Jarrod Boumann was a late withdrawal.
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