CAUGHT: Coleambally’s Adam Norton looks to evade North Wagga’s Ben Alexander at McPherson Oval on Saturday. Picture: Laura HardwickNORTH Wagga made a statement to their Farrer League opponents with a tough 10-point win over Coleambally at McPherson Oval on Saturday.
The Saints have enjoyed a strong recruitment drive over the off-season but backed it up with a win in their first outing of the season.
North Wagga, renowned for their youth and speed, outlasted Coleambally at their own game in wet conditions, winning 12.8 (80) to 10.10 (70).
The game was in the balance with scores level at three-quarter-time but the Saints stood tall when it countered to kick away for a tight win.
North Wagga co-coach Nathan Dowdlesaid the tight victory showed exactly how far the Saints have come over the off-season.
“If I was to look back on previous years, those 50-50 games in the past we generally would have lost those games,” Dowdle said.
“As a club and as a side, we’ve improved and I reckon that’s down to guys getting educated on the game and the brand and style of footy we want to play.”
New North Wagga recruits Kirk Hamblin and Chris Willis led the way.
Hamblinled from the front through the midfield and also went forward to kick two crucial goals, while Willis was the best forward on the ground and finished with four majors.
North Wagga also got good drive from youngsters LachieGaffney, Jed Winter, Jacob May and Lachie Robertson.
Dowdlesaid he is pleased with the way the Saints played.
“Coly were a quality side last year, and still are, it was a 50-50 contest and to win a close game like that in those conditions was a good effort,” he said.
“It’s exactly what we wanted from our first game.
“It’s the first time we’ve won our first game of the year since I’ve been involved here, we’ve never had this kind of start and it’s what we were after.”
Coleambally was best served by Drew Kenna, Jack Painting and Lachlan Evans.
The Saints now look forward to an Anzac Day game against cross-town rivals East Wagga-Kooringal at Gumly Oval, while Coleambally has the bye.
NORTH WAGGA (80)
2.1 5.5 9.6 12.8
3.0 6.3 9.6 10.10
Goals: (North Wagga) C Willis 4, J May 2, K Hamblin 2, L Robertson, D Karlberg, M Mullins, M Thomas; (Coleambally) L Evans 3, N Jones 2, J Painting 2, T Pound, S Pound, A Norton.
Best: (North Wagga) J Luff, K Hamblin, L Gaffney, J May, C Willis, L Robertson; (Coleambally) D Kenna, J Painting, L Evans, J Breed, B Jones, M Carroll.
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