Diggers Rest has climbed to equal top of the Riddell District Football League ladder following a grinding win at Woodend Hesket at Bloomdale Oval on Saturday.
The split round gave Diggers Rest the chance to draw level with Rupertswood and Macedon ahead of their clash this weekend, and the Burras adjusted well to difficult conditions to come away with a 13.11 (89)-6.6 (42) win.
With a howling gale blowing to one end, it was not a game for football purists, but Burras coach Shaun Sims was happy to get the right result for his side.
“It was a tough day for football to be honest,” Sims said.
“It was an old-school Diggers Day, really hard to move the ball and score, and I thought we played quite well under the circumstances.”
Woodend Hesket had the wind for the first quarter and, while the home side Burras started the better with the first two goals, it was the visiting Hawks who got on a roll and held a 14-point lead at quarter-time.
But when their turn came with the wind, the Burras didn’t waste their opportunity and flipped that deficit to go into the long break with a 34-point lead.
Lachlan Langford was particularly potent, with three goals in the second term to guide the hosts to a position of strength.
Kicking into the wind in the third term, the Burras turned to some Hollywood tactics, putting the majority of their players behind the bounce and running the ball forward with a ‘flying V’ to great effect.
It did the trick for the home side as they went goal for goal with the Hawks to hold their lead, then stretch out to the final margin in the last quarter.
After enduring a raft of injuries to key players, and some up-and-down form over the past month, Sims said to be sitting level with Rupertswood and Macedon was a good sign.
“We’re building quite well towards finals, and some people won’t see that, but I’m confident when we’ve got a full team on the park we’ll be as good as anyone,” Sims said.
“I think it’s the most open season I’ve ever seen, and if you’re not matching the opposition with your intent on the day then you’re in trouble. When we played Macedon two weeks ago we butchered the ball at times, but without a doubt that is the hardest I’ve seen us try for three years and we got the win.
“So the positive thing for us is we know our best is as good as anyone, but when we miss that last 10 per cent we’re just an ordinary team, and our guys are starting to realise that.”
After getting through the round unscathed on the injury front, Sims said the week off would do his side the world of good in the run towards finals.
“We’re happy to be flying under the radar a bit, and the bye will definitely help to get a few guys fit and back in the team,” he said.
“Michael Evans will come back next week, Stuart Clarke will be close, Taylor Hine will be close, so we’re going to get some very handy footballers back and we’ll look to build from there.”
Written by Ewan McRae. Originally published by Star Weekly 24/7/2017 @ http://www.starweekly.com.au/sports/diggers-move-to-top/