A STRONG second half was enough to earn Wallan its fourth consecutive win in the Riddell District Football Netball League senior competition as it overcame a spirited Woodend-Hesket at the weekend.
Playing on the road, the ladder-leading Magpies were level at quarter time and only led the sixth-placed Hawks by four points at the long break.
Cold, heavy conditions slowed the pace of the contest, with only six combined goals kicked in the first two quarters.
Wallan began to edge clear in the third term, kicking two goals to the Hawks’ one to grab a 13-point advantage, before coming home with a wet sail in the last to record a 10.18 (78) to 6.8 (44) victory.
Captain Michael Mannix led the side with three goals, with Jake Layley, Corey Baker, Steven Boyall, Will Brock and Ricky Schraven also among the standouts.
Wallan assistant coach Spencer Mathieson said the Magpies went into the game expecting a hard-fought contest.
“We know Woodend-Hesket are hard to beat at home and have been in good form knocking off Macedon in round five,” he said.
“It was a very contested game of footy with plenty of stoppages.
“It was an arm wrestle for most of game, and to Woodend’s credit they were very hard to play against, but we were pleased with the way our guys continued to persist the longer the game went and we were proud of the way we finished off the game.”
Mathieson said the Magpies were ‘pleased’ with their rapid return to form following the COVID-19-induced layoff, having won both their matches since competition resumed.
Wallan will now prepare to host Lancefield, which acquitted itself well in a tough loss to perennial finals contender Riddell on Saturday.
Tigers coach Tom Waters would have been pleased with the endeavour of his side after declaring it was looking to build during the second half of the year.
Lancefield took the contest to the third-placed Bombers, sitting level at quarter time and only 11 points adrift at the final change in a low-scoring contest.
Despite registering the same number of scoring shots as their opponents, inaccuracy saw the Tigers lose 6.3 (39) to 2.7 (19), as the likes of Lukas Fellows, Joe Slattery, Thomas Keaney and James Falcone led the way.
Saturday’s game at Greenhill Reserve will be another chance for Lancefield to test its improvement, with the ladder-leading Magpies having won by 91 points in their first meeting in round two.
Romsey slipped to fifth place on the ladder following a 13.8 (86) to 7.6 (48) loss to Diggers Rest at the weekend.
The Redbacks worked hard but were unable to make any headway into a 19-point quarter-time deficit despite another superb game from skipper Nathan Blair, who kicked two goals.
Full forward Jack Jedwab and defenders Mitch Adamson and Michael Tinkler were also among the best in the loss.
Romsey will play host to struggling Melton Centrals on Saturday as it looks to shore up its position in the finals race.