A BIG win by the Horsham Saints against Stawell will have the rest of the league sitting up to take notice as finals approach.
The side claimed its biggest scalp of the season when the final siren sounded with the scoreboard showing 17.16.118 to 6.10.46.
Saints coach Luke Fisher said it was a good boost of confidence for his side in the run home.
“That’s what we are aiming to get out the next couple of weeks,” he said.
“It’s the first time we have more or less had a full squad to pick from and everyone knew there was no more excuses.”
The Saints piled on eight unanswered goals with the aid of the wind in the first quarter to set up the match.
It was two of the side’s youngest players that led the way early.
Ollie Timms repeatedly hit the contest hard and Mitch Martin kicked three of his five goals before quarter-time.
Stawell came back in the second quarter to cut the margin in half by half-time, with David Andrivon again a strong target.
“It was probably a three or four goal-breeze, but it was more so that it was difficult to kick into,” Fisher said.
“I wasn’t worried during the second quarter, I just knew we had to keep working hard.
“The goals that Stawell were getting were from 50 metres out so it wasn’t easy for them.”
Stawell again had trouble moving the ball forward against the wind during the third quarter.
For the second quarter in the game, the side could only manage two behinds.
Andrivon and Travis Graham were starved of opportunities as Alexander McRae marshalled the Saints’ backline effectively in order to repel most forward thrusts.
At the other end of the ground Jacob-Cooke Harrison was creative to bring players into the game.
Errant kicking in the difficult conditions led to the Saints kicking 4.8 in the quarter, but a 57-point margin at three-quarter-time had put the game to bed.
The influence of the wind died down in the fourth as the away team continued to control the match.
The final 72-point margin means the sides have split their two encounters this season, adding further excitement ahead of their clash in the first round of finals.
Jackson Taurau, Jesse Galea-Portelli and Todd Matthews were best on ground for Stawell while Fisher also had praise for Sean Manetell.
“He was really good at the contests,” he said.
“I thought he was one of their best.”
Fisher was best on ground for the Saints, fresh from re-signing to continue his role at the club next season.
“I’m just running on top of the ground a bit better now and still getting back to where I want to be,” he said.
“It takes a good 12 months to really get back to it after a knee reconstruction.”
Stawell and the Saints are now level on seven wins each.