Ararat 90 d Horsham Saints 80
ARARAT has maintained its perfect start to the season with a hard-fought 10-point win over Horsham Saints at Coughlin Park, Horsham on Saturday.
In windy conditions, the Rats used the breeze to kick ahead to a 20-point quarter-time advantage, before the Saints reduced the margin to just six points at the major break.
However, the Rats responded straight after the break, taking a 27-point lead into the final term.
The Saints snared two goals early in the final quarter, but the Rats hung on – despite having no interchange from midway through the term – with a goal against the breeze sealing a 13.12 (90) to 12.8 (80) win.
Rats co-coach David Hosking said it was a memorable win.
“We said to the boys at three-quarter-time – you can’t save the game, you have to continue to try and score,” he said.
“I thought we made some good decisions with the ball in the last quarter.”
Forward Beau Cosson, four goals, was the Rats’ star, while midfielders Aaron Searle and skipper Alan Batchelor played important roles.
Half-back Jake Williamson marshalled the backline, with Will Bell a late withdrawal and James Hosking and James Laidlaw both suffering injuries.
Hosking said the team performance showed the Rats had taken big strides already in 2014.
“I think Saturday was a step forward, there’s no doubt we can say we’ve improved on last year,” he said.
“Winning away from home for us has been a bit of an issue over the years, so to be 3-0 with two away wins is good.”
The Saints – after an opening round win against Dimboola – have now suffered back-to-back defeats.
Saints coach Shayne Breuer paid credit to the opposition for its intensity throughout the game.
“I think their around the ball contest work was better than ours and their intensity was probably a bit better than ours,” he said.
“We were probably a little bit flat – but I still think we had plenty of the ball and probably didn’t use it as well as we could’ve.”
Gavin Kelm, five goals, and Jacob Cooke-Harrison, three goals, both took their opportunities up forward.
Jarrod and Joel Berry both made their senior debuts for the Saints, with skipper Alex McRae and midfielders Pat Knott and Nathan Clough all performing strongly.