SHORT SHRIFT: Lavington's Jono Spina is tackled by Wodonga Raiders' Jackson Kelly. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE
Lavington's clinical work derails Raiders top three plans
Lavington’s finals-like pressure has worried a jittery Wodonga Raiders out of the third spot.
Raiders just needed to topple Lavington to seal the double chance, but never looked likely until closing to within two goals with almost five minutes left.
However, Lavington steadied to post a confidence-boosting, if inaccurate, 7.17 (59) to 7.4 (46) win.
“Our effort against Yarrawonga was really poor, and one of the guys during the week said we don’t put in two bad ones in a row,” coach James Saker said.
“We played a little more like the brand we think we’ve made our name off for a large part of the decade.
Lavington produced 69 tackles, with damaging midfielder Matt Sharp snaring six, while Luke Garland and Jack Harland, with five apiece, also chipped in.
Tom Hargreave finished with 37 touches, including a superb goal from 45 meters in the second quarter.
“I think we’re a better side than what we dished out against Yarrawonga,” he said.
“In a way, it was good for us, we were going through the motions and that loss woke us up.”
Raiders barely had a winner, possibly Alex Daly on Panthers’ spearhead Adam Prior, who finished with one goal four, with veteran Adam Butler dominating Jydon Neagle.
“He did a great job, Adam was able to get to the contest more than he has been,” Saker said.
“When he’s around the ball, he is so dangerous.”
And Raiders’ coach Daryn Cresswell didn’t hold back on his captain.
“Poor, very poor, our leader was poor, he knows about that,” he said.
“Butler smothered him completely out of the game and he needs to be stronger as our captain.”
Raiders had kicked only three goals to three-quarter time, but Lavington’s inaccuracy handed Raiders a sniff in the final term.
The Panthers led by 29 points, but a superb Jack Haugen mark in the first minute was the ideal start.
However, a clumsy piece of play allowed Harland to swoop and kick a wonderful long goal into the breeze.
“I think we had six goals from turnovers, if you take that away, Lachie Flagg’s was a really crucial one, Zac Rouse, we’d get back within three (goals) and give them another easy one,” Cresswell said.
After winning eight of their past nine games and eyeing the double chance, Raiders now face sudden death against Lavington in the elimination final.
“You’ve got to give credit to Lavington, they shut us down,” Cresswell said.
Article courtesy of the Border Mail