HIS team squandered shots at goal for most of the day, but Coolamon youngster Hugh Wakefield stepped up when it mattered most in Saturday's 5.17 (47) to 6.5 (41) win over Wagga Tigers on Saturday.
With a strong breeze drifting across Robertson Oval making it difficult for forwards, Wakefield intercepted a Brady Morton pass 40 metres out on a 45 degree with scores level midway through the last term.
In just his third senior game, the 19-year-old made no mistake with his shot. It turned out to be the last goal of the game as the Hoppers managed to shut down the Tigers for the last ten minutes.
"I just wanted to kick through it and try and enjoy it," Wakefield said.
"For sure it's the biggest goal I've kicked.
"It was a bit hard going forward, but once we knuckled down in the last quarter we gave it to them with our pressure."
It was an important win for an injury-ravaged Coolamon, who were looking to bounce back from a 58-point loss to flag favourites Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong last week.
They were without several key players including co-coach Jake Barrett (hamstring), Marshal Macauley (head knock) and Bailey Wood (shoulder), but won a scrappy affair to move to 2-1 for the season.
The Tigers were looking for their first win of the year, and both teams brought serious pressure to the contest.
The hosts looked to set to cause a mini upset when Brayden Bigham kicked his third goal of the game from a 50-metre penalty for umpire dissent to give them a ten-point lead at three quarter time.
But the Hoppers managed to kick the only two goals of the last quarter to claim the four points.
Coolamon looked set for a big day when Jeremy Maslin booted the first two goals of the game, but the Tigers hit back with three of their own to take a two-point quarter time lead.
But led by the likes of Allister Clarke and Josh Buchanan, the Hoppers ground away enough to get the job done against a spirited Tigers.
The Tigers were without coach and key defender Murray Stephenson (hamstring), and he was also unable to coach due to illness.
Hoppers co-coach Mark Carroll said it wasn't a pretty win, but was proud of his team's resilience when their desire for the contest was tested by the Tigers.
Morton was strong overall for the Tigers after moving down back this week on Coolamon full forward Joe Redfern, while midfielder Shaun Flanigan was influential.
"We have a fair few injuries, but when that's the case you talk about the next person stepping up and I thought they did that today," Carroll said.
"The best thing about today was they kept grinding away, they didn't drop their heads and kept at it. I know we kicked a lot of behinds, and they could have dropped their heads at times.
"The midfield was great and our backline was really good. The forward line probably has some work to do with their kicking, but our tackling and pressure was really good today.
"Every time they got it we put some heat on them and that makes it easier for our backline.
"The Tigers were good, they were on their home deck and came out with as much desire as we did. In the end our territory game was a bit better than theirs."
Tiger Jock Cornell said the team is frustrated their inconsistent patches in games has cost them in three straight weeks.
They've endured a tough early draw against big guns Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong and Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes before their first home game against Coolamon.
"There's no use playing three good quarters of footy if we can't get it done. That's what we keep talking about is putting in four quarters of good football," Cornell said.
"We've lot ourselves down in all three games this season with inconsistency.
"We're definitely young but they kicked 17 points, they kept us in the game a bit to be honest.
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