HARROW-BALMORAL has one hand on the minor premiership after a dominant display against Laharum on Saturday.
In freezing conditions at Cameron Oval, a blistering eight goal first term set the tone of the day.
Southern Roos forwards Simon Close and James Staude both hit the scoreboard early in the game. Close kicked two goals from tight angles in the first term, while Staude kicked three for the quarter.
Laharum found it tough to get the ball moving in the first term but fought back hard in the second quarter. A much improved performance put the Dees back into the game with a five goal to two term.
Intermittent rain made for a scrappy and low-scoring third quarter, but Harrow-Balmoral’s lead was never threatened.
Laharum struggled to clear the ball from its defensive 50 for much of the day. Harrow-Balmoral scored on numerous occasions from a Laharum turnover in the forward 50.
Those errors continued to hurt the Dees in the fourth quarter as Harrow-Balmoral ran out winners – 20.10 (130) to 9.4 (58).
The Southern Roos finished the game without Will Plush who was concussed.
Laharum playing coach Robbie Miller was sent off in the last quarter as tensions boiled but his report was thrown out after the game.
Miller said it was a disappointing performance from his side. Laharum drops to eighth, two points outside of the top six with one round to play.
“It was disappointing to let them have 12 scoring shots in the first quarter and we knew we had to claw it back and we showed signs of that,” he said. “They are a good side and it’s hard to keep them down for long.
“We have been working on clearing it from defence but we do tend to overuse it. We like to move the ball quickly but they set up really well. You look up the field and you see Harrow-Balmoral jumpers scattered everywhere, so it made it hard getting the ball out of defence.”
Harrow-Balmoral coach Nick Pekin said it was a solid win leading into finals.
“Laharum had a lot riding on it and there were a lot of momentum swings. For us to finish off the game the way we did was really pleasing,” he said. “They put the heat on us in the second quarter, which we expected.”
“We do a lot of goal kicking work. Simon Close kicked really well today. Him and James Staude definitely did their role.
“Forward 50 pressure is pivotal and we have to do it. It’s the midfields and the forwards. If the ball isn’t in your hands you can’t control it.”
Pekin said the goal was to build from here.
“The minor flag wouldn’t mean a lot. We are happy to be around there but we want to build on that momentum in finals,” he said.