Strathmerton demonstrated why it is nudging the top of the Picola District Football League north-west ladder with a resounding 170-point victory over winless Yarroweyah on Saturday.
The Bulldogs ran all the way to the final siren at their home ground as the outgunned Hoppers struggled to have an impact on the scoreboard.
Strathmerton coach Tim Bramich was pleased with the results of the match and happy that his players made it through the wet and slippery conditions without injury.
‘‘It was really good we stuck to the game plan that we’ve been working on for the last two months,’’ Bramich said.
‘‘We did change the personnel around a bit, to give the blokes a run, but our game plan stays the same.’’
The Bulldogs coach nominated Michael Bloom, Matt Shannon and Adrian Crestani as his best players.
He said the team was playing really good footy.
‘‘The way we’re playing now, if we can stay injury free, and that’s the biggest battle, we’re confident,’’ he said.
‘‘We played all the top sides recently — three in a row with Picola, Tocumwal and Blighty in the last three games — and we’re really happy where we are.
‘‘We’ve got a couple of sides we’re looking to beat, Berrigan and Deniliquin.
‘‘We’re confident we can beat anyone if we play well on the day.’’
Asked to nominate a likely duo for the grand final, Bramich said Strathmerton and Blighty were likely to play off for the prize.
And the winner?
‘‘Hopefully us, by two goals,’’ he said.
Yarroweyah coach Paul Massingham is taking a long-term view of his side’s prospects for the future, so he remained upbeat despite Saturday’s thumping.
‘‘The conditions weren’t the best, and with the team we’ve got at the moment, with the injuries and the players that have left the club, the boys fought it out the best they could,’’ Massingham said.
‘‘The third quarter let us down, when Strathmerton kicked nine goals, which made the margin blow out quickly. But in the last quarter they only kicked six.
‘‘That showed that the guys didn’t give up, even though the scoreboard was well and truly in Strathy’s favour.’’
Massingham said spirits were quite high after the game as the team looked forward to the footballers’ ball on the Saturday night.
The coach said captain Andy Jones and Nick Macheda were leading players for the team.
‘‘Andy was probably our best on ground. Nick played loose in the backline. His form over the last two or three weeks has been pretty good,’’ he said.
‘‘And young Cameron Isedale held his form from last week. He played a good game last week.
‘‘When we’ve got our targets up forward, when we can look to Andy Jones. It’s just a matter of the blokes all gelling together.
‘‘There are moments when you see them all linked up together and they do everything I ask them to do, and they look good.
‘‘The issue with the side at the moment is that they’re very young and developing and the game plans I set out for them, sometimes they don’t follow them too well. But when they do, you can see what happens, you can see how quick we can move the ball.’’
Massingham said his young charges had not played a lot of senior football and would be better once they had 20 or 25 games under their belts.
‘‘We’ve had a couple of results that have been heavily against us, and we’ve tried to play a bit more defensive,” he said.
‘‘But ultimately, if the club wants to improve and become a better side, we’ve got to do the attacking play.
‘‘Probably in the first quarter we shut it down a little bit, we had a fairly strong backline. But as the game progressed, rather than have no goals on the board and maybe only 20 against us, we sort of threw it around a bit and tried to score a few goals and when we kicked 2.4 we probably should have kicked 4.2.’’
Fortunately, the wet ground didn’t lead to injuries.
‘‘There was a little bit of a knock to the calf of one of our boys, but no other injuries,’’ Massingham said.
Massingham is not ruling out notching up a win this season, with his side to face struggling Jerilderie in the coming weeks.
‘‘I couldn’t see us getting off the bottom of the ladder, but hopefully we can see a bit of improvement in the last five games,’’ he said.
‘‘We know where we’re at. We lost a lot of players coming into the season and we didn’t gain a hell of a lot.
‘‘We’ll just get through the next five weeks.’’
Results: Strathmerton 29.12 (186) defeated Yarrowehah 2.4 (16).
Goalkickers: D. Ellis 4, A. Crestani 4, B. Palmer 4, M. O’Kane 4, T. Hill 2, B. Duckworth 2, M. Price 2, J. Kimberley 2, M. Luci, B. Power, S. Grillo, I. Bunge, L. O’Sullivan Best Players: M. Bloom, M. Shannon, M. O’Kane, B. Palmer, A. Crestani, T. Hill
- Grahame Whyte