BUSHRANGERS IN THRILLER OVER KNIGHTS
The Murray Bushrangers have scored a valuable victory against the Northern Knights at the Wangaratta Showgrounds in TAC Cup action. The Bushrangers were able to come from behind on multiple occasions to score a 7 point win and their eighth victory for the year. The win sets up a 2 Vs 3 battle next weekend when the Bushrangers travel to Dandenong to take on the Stingrays at Shepley Oval.
Before the game, both teams and officials lined up and observed a minutes silence in respect for the passing of Adelaide Football Club’s AFL coach Phil Walsh who passed away in tragic circumstances.
The Bushrangers began the game in great fashion with ruck clearances by Mitch King and forward forays by Murray Waite and Clayton Oliver seeing the Bushrangers kick the opening 2 goals of the game. But the Knights started to find their feet and great contested one on one football saw the Bushies lead overtake. However great goals by Levi Middleton and Murray Waite saw the Bushrangers take an 11 point lead into the first break.
The second term saw the Knights strike first with a long running goal, but clever forward Luke Smith kicked his second goal to push the Bushrangers lead back out to 11 points. Again the Knights capitalised on the Murray turnovers and at the main break, the Knights led by 1 point and a big challenge was ahead for the Murray Bushrangers.
The third quarter was a tight tense affair and after five minutes, the scores were level. But again the Knights got the break and led by 13 points after 10 minutes of play. Bushranger Ryley Sharp kicked a great goal against the play to reduce the margin in the twelfth minute. The Bushrangers defence was bombarded for a long period of the term, but Louis Pinnuck, Ryan Garthwaite, Isaac Wallace, Brady Sharp and Harry Tanner were impenetrable. While up forward, Kyle Galloway and Esava Ratugolea were contesting everything in the air and Luke Smith kicked another goal to see the Bushrangers trail by just 2 points. In the shadow of three quarter time, Northern squeezed a goal and led by 8 points at the last change.
The Bushrangers lifted from the first bounce of the final term and battled hard to clear the ball and after seven minutes of play; James Cousins kicked a classy goal to level the scores. Murray Waite stamped his authority on the game with a brilliant goal, as a result of continuous attacks on the football and causing turnovers. He goaled from some classy work to hit the lead and then ruck workhorse Mitch King slotted a long goal.
The Knights gave a final burst and kicked a goal and the Bushrangers led by 1 point after 15 minutes. Waite took the mark of the day twenty metres from goal and calmly slotted the Bushrangers to their eighth win of the season and into second on the TAC Cup ladder.
The final score was:
Murray Bushrangers 12-7=79 defeated Northern Knights 11-7=73.
Best Players: MURRAY WAITE (WANGARATTA), RYAN GARTHWAITE (LAVINGTON), MITCH KING (WODONGA), LUKE SMITH (CONGUPNA), LOUIS PINNUCK (STRATHMERTON)
Goals : MURRAY WAITE (WANGARATTA) 3, LUKE SMITH (CONGUPNA) 3, RYLEY SHARP (MYRTLEFORD,) 2MITCH KING (WODONGA) 1, LEVI MIDDLETON (FINLEY) 1
TRENT MCMULLAN (WODONGA) 1
JAMES COUSINS (BENALLA) 1