TERANG MORTLAKE overcame a scoreless third quarter to snare a nail-biting two point victory over North Warrnambool in Hampden league football on Saturday.
The Eagles piled on three goals in the third term to edge in front at the final change before the Bloods finished strongly in the 9.12 (66) to 10.4 (64) win.
Coach Michael Sargeant was pleased to get the win and said despite the closeness of the contest, he thought his side would prevail.
He said the scoreless third term was a combination of difficult conditions and missed opportunities with the Eagles edging ahead late in the quarter.
However, the Bloods’ leader said “I thought we were still in control” of the match even though his side trailed by a point.
“It was pretty tough (in the third quarter), the wind was blowing straight down one end, but we kicked 2.6 in the first term into the breeze,” Sargeant said.
“They kicked a goal or two late in the third term and then I think they got the first one or two in the last quarter.”
Both sides kicked three goals apiece in the final term, but it was Terang Mortlake who finished on top.
Sargeant said his side’s fourth quarter was underlined by some of his experienced players exerting their influence on the game.
“We made a couple of positional changes and our leaders stood up,” he said.
“Nick Couch played forward all day but in the last 10 to 15 minutes he went into the midfield and got three or four clearances for us.
“Alex Moloney went into the ruck in the last 10 to 15 minutes, those two were getting the ball forward and Colin Garland finished it off.”
Sargeant was pleased to have Garland play his first game for the club and said he kicked two final quarter goals as well as played a key part in the match-winning major.
“He was really good,” he said.
“He was pretty excited and pretty nervous, it was his first game off a knee reconstruction so we didn’t expect too much of him.”
Sargeant said the former Melbourne defender’s experience was also important in the result.
He said Garland immediately bought into the club and fitted in seamlessly with his new team-mates and admitted his on-field presence was like having “another coach on the ground”.
“He was invaluable really,” Sargeant said.
“Not only to the players, but also to the coaching staff.
“It was like he had played at the club his whole life.”
The win has the Bloods positioned seventh on the ladder with a 2-3 record and Sargeant said the focus would be on improving their record upon their return against Hamilton after the bye.
He said with the average winning margin of games within the competition being low, it was important his side produced their best footy every week.
“We need to keep winning games but 2-3 is not the end of the world,” Sargeant said
“We’ve played the preliminary finalists and grand finalists last year so far but we’re comfortable (with our record).
“Another win would have been great but with the competition being so tight, you just need to be on your A game or you’ll get beaten.”
In the other football matches, the reserves (88 points), the under 18.5s (64) and the under 14s (56) all won while the under 16s lost by 79 points.