A DOMINANT third quarter led Stawell to a much-needed victory against the Horsham Saints on Saturday.
It was the six-goal-to-one third quarter that allowed the side to win 16.7 (103) to 11.8 (74).
Stawell started the game strongly to open up an early lead as the Saints got caught on the jump in the first five minutes of the match.
As the game settled so did the Saints as the side worked its way into the lead by half-time.
Horsham Saints coach Luke Fisher said except for the first five minutes of the game and the third quarter, his side was right in the contest.
“We probably could have been further in front at half-time,” he said.
The Warriors stood tall in the premiership-quarter as the intensity level of the home side dropped off.
A two-point quarter-time lead quickly turned into a five-goal deficit with a quarter to play.
“We relied on our tackling pressure and it just wasn’t there in the first 15 minutes of the third quarter,” Fisher said.
“The ball moved into their tall forward line too easily and we’ve spoken about how we need to be applying pressure through the midfield to prevent that from happening.” The dominance of Stawell’s forwards was illustrated by Brent Tuckey, David Andrivon and Travis Graham, who combined for 14 of their side’s 16 goals in the match.
“The whole group was disappointed with how we played in that quarter,” Fisher said.
“We simply didn’t do what we had been talking about doing.” The Saints continued to fight in the final term but could not string more than two goals together to close the margin.
Ultimately the Warriors registered a 29-point win to keep in touch with the top-three sides in the competition with each side now having played each other.
James Delahunty was best on ground for Stawell with midfielder Sean Mantell and backman Jesse Galea-Portelli also influential.
Jacob O’Beirne, Sam Clyne and Andy Devereaux were all solid for the Saints.
Fisher pointed out the hard work put in by Bowen Friend as well. “He did a terrific job as he does each week,” he said.
“He just keeps battling hard and doing whatever we needed him to do.”
The Warriors will look to build from this win after wavering form caused by injury setback over the past month. The side will hope to push further up the ladder in coming months.
Injury concerns have also hampered the Saints up to this point. Fisher said he knew it would be a tough start to the season and his side would need to turn a couple of losses into wins.