IT may have taken longer than they wanted but Terang Mortlake finally registered its first win of 2019 last Saturday.
The Bloods ended its run of losses with an 11.10 (76) to 9.12 (66) victory over Cobden at Terang Recreation Reserve, lifting themselves off the bottom of the ladder in the process.
Coach Michael Sargeant was thrilled with the result.
“It’s a bit of a relief and a reward for effort,” he said.
“As I have said in the past, the boys have been working pretty hard so it’s good to finally get the result.”
The match was a competitive affair in the opening term, with both sides kicking four goals apiece as Cobden took a four point lead into the first change.
The Bloods then managed to work their way to the front in the second quarter, but wayward kicking limited them from pushing further ahead as they entered half-time six points clear.
Terang Mortlake then continued to control proceedings in the third term, kicking three goals to one to extend its buffer to 15 points at the last change.
The final quarter was again a close affair and although Cobden outscored the Bloods three goals to two, the home side was able to hold on to record a 10 point victory.
Sargeant said he felt his side was in control of the contest for the majority of the day but could never put away a rugged Cobden outfit.
“We kind of got on top but to their credit they’d get a couple (of goals) back on us (at stages),” he said.
“To be honest I probably felt comfortable from halfway through the third quarter but they again managed to get one back on us.
“It was a tight game all day.”
Sargeant was pleased with his side’s third quarter effort against the Bombers after the same period in previous games had been his side’s main bugbear all year.
He said a few changes helped them correct the problem last week but admitted there was still work to be done to eliminate it entirely.
“I wouldn’t say the issue is fixed but we were definitely a lot better in the third quarter,” he said.
“We structured up a little bit different and we seemed to score much easier when we were going forward.
“We did have Steve Staunton up there, he played predominantly forward all day and he straightened us up.
“He kicked five and was dominant throughout the day.”
Staunton’s performance was enough to earn him best on ground, while Joe Arundell and Gus Bourke were also praised for their games.
“Joe Arundell was terrific down at half-back, he took a lot of intercept marks,” Sargeant said.
“And I was really pleased with Gus Bourke’s game, he’s had a pretty consistent season but he played a really good game on the weekend.”
The Bloods will now meet reigning premier Koroit, who also enter the game in winning form after defeating Port Fairy by 34 points last weekend.
Sargeant said the Bloods would have some confidence heading into the match but knows they still face an almighty task downing the Saints on their home turf.
“We obviously come up against the best side of the competition over the past 10 to 15 years but we go in with a bit of confidence off the weekend and having beaten them late last year,” he said.
“We’ve got to stick to the structures that have worked for us, hopefully they will hold us in good stead.”