By Colin MacGillivray
ROMSEY is feeling confident of a Riddell District Football Netball League finals berth after a vital win against fellow finals contender Macedon on Saturday.
Playing away, the Redbacks jumped out of the gate, kicking six goals to one with the wind at their backs in the first term.
Kicking into the breeze in the second quarter, Romsey defended well to concede only two goals, kicking one of their own to take a 25-point advantage into half time.
It was during the third quarter that coach Paul Kennedy said Romsey lost its way, with the visitors conceding two goals and failing to kick one of their own despite the assistance of the wind.
“We started exceptionally well and played a terrific first half, and then lost our way in the third quarter, which was probably a credit to [Macedon],” he said.
“They lifted their work rate around the footy and we couldn’t get our hands on it.
“We wasted what was probably a five or six-goal breeze and gave them a huge chance to win it in the last quarter, but fortunately we were able to hang on.
“[At three-quarter time] we spoke about getting back to what we did in the first half and getting our hands on the footy and winning some clearances. We were able to do that and we defended really well.”
In a frenetic final quarter Macedon nearly ran over the top of Romsey, kicking a goal from a controversial 50-metre penalty with five minutes left to draw within a point.
Fittingly it was Romsey captain Nathan Blair, best afield all day, who sealed the victory with his second goal of the day in the dying minutes.
“He was fantastic. He’s our leader – he puts his head over the footy and takes the guys with him,” Kennedy said.
“He’s been out for the last three weeks so it was great to have him back, and hopefully over the next few weeks we’ll be able to get a few more back, because we’ve been battling a bit.”
Among the players poised to return to the side are Jack Jedwab, Ben Way, Nathan Rayment, Angus Storey, Matthew Burkett and Jackson Mills.
But with a 10-point buffer between Romsey and sixth-placed Woodend-Hesket, Kennedy said the Redbacks now had the luxury of not rushing their stars back for this week’s clash with ladder-leader Diggers Rest.
“We got within a point of them down there early in the year and it was a really contested game, but their results on the bigger grounds seem like they’re running away from sides,” Kennedy said.
“They’ve got talent on every line, so they’re a hard side to stop when they get going but it’s just another challenge we have to come up against.
“If you want to go anywhere in the finals you’ve got to be competitive against these sides.”
Lancefield also celebrated a win – its second of the season – after taking care of business against the Western Rams.
The Rams looked a chance to snare their first win of the year after holding the visiting Tigers to only two behinds in the opening half, but Lancefield got going after the long break to kick eight goals to three, sealing an 8.7 (55) to 4.4 (28) win.
Midfielder Harrison Taylor was Lancefield’s best, with Joseph Slattery, Lukas Fellows, Ben Bryant and Mathew Higgins among the other standouts.
Lancefield will travel to play Wallan this weekend, with the Magpies returning from a round 14 bye.