Boxall bags four as Raiders lock down third spot
THE Raiders emerged from a typically bruising Wodonga derby with a 44-point win over the Bulldogs, with a four goal second half from Ethan Boxall helping cement his side into third place on the ladder.
A telling fortnight now approaches for the Raiders, with Albury and Lavington waiting in the wings, and they'll have to nurse some sore bodies through after a spiteful second quarter.
After being held goalless in the first quarter, the Bulldogs came out with a head full of steam in the second, with Trent McMullan providing a good contest across half forward to allow Ben Hollands to boot the Dogs’ first at the 14 minute mark.
The two sides continued to trade blows on the scoreboard and on the field for the second quarter and much of the third, and the Raiders looked rattled when Wodonga were able to close to within 25 points at one stage.
Cooler heads prevailed though, with Boxall the beneficiary of some stellar delivery forward, providing another option forward while Ross Tungatalum was being well held by Wodonga's Daniel Wortmann.
Raiders coach Daryn Cresswell said Wortmann did a good job on Tungatalum, but the livewire Tiwi Islander found his way onto the highlight reel nonetheless, with a spectacular soccer out of mid-air in the final quarter.
Cresswell will have his work cut out for him at the selection table this week, with Hayden Heta stationed in the goalsquare for much of the day managing a knee injury, while Matt Murray is a fifty-fifty prospect after tweaking a hamstring in the third quarter.
“We were disappointed with our second quarter, I think we got sucked in a bit, but that changed after half time and we got back to playing the ball and playing it hard,” Cresswell.
“We fought it out pretty hard, it was a really good team effort, and we'll try and back it up next week now.
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“Jake Goldsmith and a couple of others will be back for us next week which will be important, our forward structure wasn't quite what we would have liked, but to kick the score we did was really good with a couple of blokes a bit quiet.”
Now a game clear of North Albury in third place, Cresswell has already turned his attention to next week's clash with Albury.
“The next two games will be crucial for us, coming up against the best two teams in Albury and Lavington,” the coach said.
“We pushed Albury last time we played, they're a great football club, we know it'll be hard, but it'll also be a good test of where we're at.”
Article courtesy of the Border Mail