WFL - Stawell Westlift Warriors showed true grit to fight off a determined Horsham Diggers and record their third win of the Wimmera Football League season on Saturday.
Stawell came away from Horsham City Oval with a 38 points win, but more importantly, with plenty of self belief.
Clearly challenged by the Diggers, particularly early in wet and slippery conditions, Stawell responded in the best way possible. Players who had been down lifted all of a sudden and regular contributors including defenders Zac Marrow and Jackson Dark, stood tall to always give their team hope.
It was a far from pretty start from both teams, with the opening goal not kicked until the 21 minute mark of the first term. This came from the boot of Diggers danger man Damian Cameron and was followed by another from their coach Justin Garth.
In the end, the Diggers led by 14 points at quarter time, with Stawell registering just three behinds.
Not only were the players challenged by the Diggers, but also by joint coach Jamie Solyom, who once again labelled his chargers lazy at quarter time.
"We're not helping each other out and not talking to each other," he said.
"I hope we didn't come up here expecting that they would just give it to us. We have to work really hard, man up and look for options going forward. We're trying to kick 60 metres and it's not working, so we need to change that and spot up a man in the clear.
"We came here to win a game of football. It's going to be a hard slog in these conditions, but we just have to work harder."
The players responded with a four goal second term to wrestle the lead away from the Diggers. Shane Field was winning everything in the ruck, and pushing back in defence and the onballers started to win clearances, which proved the difference.
Another four goal third term, including some soccer brilliance from joint captain Tom Eckel, had Stawell in the box seat. They led by 21 points and all of a sudden looked to have confidence in each other.
Forwards Todd Matthews and Andrew Cameron were working hard to lock the ball in, Zac Marrow and Jackson Dark were giving nothing away in defence and Cam Kimber was throwing his body in and winning countless possessions as a result. Kimber was clearly Stawell's best and was able to bring the likes of Jamie Bach and Angus Barham into the game.
The message at three quarter time from Solyom was clear, just keep doing the things they had been in the second and third quarters and stop the Diggers run.
When Matthews marked and goaled from 20 metres out and onballer Jesse Hannett kicked truly on the run shortly after, the match was over.
In the end, Stawell added three goals in the final term to the Diggers four behinds, to seal a confidence boosting 38 points win as they head into the final round of the 2013 home and away season on Saturday.