CALM and collected play in the final quarter allowed the Southern Mallee Giants to overcome a gutsy effort by the Stawell Warriors at Central Park on Saturday.
The Giants trailed at the end of the first and second quarters before the side was able to play the game on its terms more often in the second half to eventually win 11.18 (84) to 9.5 (59).
Southern Mallee Giants coach Coleman Schache was pleased with the way his side got over the line.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game because Stawell have only lost one down here for the season,” he said.
“It needed to be a four-quarter performance and it ended up being a tough game.
“It wasn’t until the final ten minutes of the last quarter that we were able to blow it open a little more.”
The home team kicked against the breeze in the first quarter but it did not stop the side from managing a goal within a minute of the opening siren.
The Giants were not rattled by the early score and the side was soon able to create multiple scoring shots of its own through repeated thrusts forward.
Sam White put the first goal on the board for the Giants but it was to be his side’s only for the term as Stawell’s defensive pressure made for difficult opportunities.
A free kick moments before the siren allowed the Warriors to add a second and carry a one-point lead into the first break.
It was more of the same in the second quarter as the Giants continued to press forward against the breeze but failed to fully capitalise.
At the other end of the ground the Warriors were more efficient in front of goal in a three goal to two second term.
At half-time the home team held a three-point lead despite registering just half as many scoring shots.
“There was a lot of rushed opportunities due to Stawell’s pressure,” Schache said.
“We’ve got to be better with our delivery into the forward line – we made it hard for the forwards at times.”
When Stawell kicked two early goals in the third quarter it looked as though a major upset was brewing before the Giants wrestled back control to establish a 12-point lead at the final break.
The first two goals of the fourth term went the way of the Giants before the Warriors pegged one back.
The home team then created more opportunities but played at a frenetic pace which resulted in mistakes at crucial moments.
The more experienced Giants were able to withstand the barrage before kicking away in the closing stages of the match.
The result sees the Giants remain four points behind the Horsham Demons.
Stawell is now percentage and a win outside of the final five with three games to play.