Sport

Hicks peppers big sticks

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April 15, 2017

Her-cules: Michael Herlihy (Numurkah) shouldered a large midfield load with ease to dominate yesterday.

Off and running: Jordan O'Dwyer (Numurkah) collects one of his many touches as the Blues defeated Rumbalara by 136 points on Good Friday.

Not so fast: Rumbalara defender Ashleigh Miller stops Blue Tim Arnel in his tracks.

Dustin' Hoff: Numurkah's Josh Hoffmann dusted himself off after an early knock to snare a goal in the Blues' big win yesterday.

Surf’s up.

Numurkah’s navy blue wave does not look like cresting any time soon as it overwhelmed yet another opponent, this time a hapless Rumbalara outfit, in front of a bumper Good Friday crowd.

Forward Nathan Hicks was the star of the show, booting 9.6 in the massive 136-point victory at Numurkah Showgrounds, while midfielders Nick Fothergill (two goals) and Michael Herlihy should have been checked into the hospital after the match with bouts of leather poisoning.

The day began in the worst possible fashion for the visitors, with playing coach Nathan Lovett-Murray unable to overcome a groin injury suffered last week to play yesterday.

When the Blues then piled on eight goals in the first term against the breeze, Rumba’s day was done.

The pain was not over though, with the away side not registering a forward 50 possession in the second stanza, with Numurkah’s inaccuracy (4.10 for the term) the only factor keeping the scoreboard in a semi-respectable position.

Hicks roamed Numurkah’s forward half with all the subtlety of a hungry bear for the entirety of the match, crashing packs and snagging goals at will, but the star even made his presence felt up the ground.

With the Blues already more than 70 points up in red time of the second quarter it seemed like some had already hit cruise control, but not Hicks.

With Rumbalara struggling to extract the footy from its defensive end, full-back Ashleigh Miller decided to take on Hicks from the kick-in, but immediately regretted the decision when he was hunted down and caught in a bone-crunching tackle.

The message was clear from the big man — a lack of effort would not be tolerated.

It was a philosophy coach Chris O’Dwyer seconded after the match.

‘‘We faded in and out throughout the match — when our intensity disappeared, so did our skills,’’ he said.

‘‘I spoke at the breaks about showcasing our talent and not getting sucked into a scrappy style of footy, but I thought our backs were good all day and our mids were all good in patches.’’

It seems tough to not be over the moon with two huge wins in a row, but O’Dwyer spoke during the week about wanting to test his side ahead of what is a mouth-watering clash against reigning premier Nathalia next round.

‘‘We knew we couldn’t underestimate Rumbalara, but obviously we’ve had a pretty good day again today,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re really excited for next week, we’ll know exactly where we’re at, but we can’t afford Nathalia any room to take the game away from us.’’

For Rumba it was a disappointing day all round, with only four goals to show for the trip.

‘‘It was really disappointing, guys were just really unaccountable and the way they moved the ball and defended was poor,’’ Lovett-Murray said.

‘‘But it’s a game that we will definitely learn from, we really want to improve and get better.’’

There were good signs from a few Rumba talents, especially in the penultimate quarter where Nathan Kerr, Cameron Mahoney and Michael Clarke helped their side hit the scoreboard, but the revival was short-lived.

Numurkah kicked back into top gear in the final term, as the Blues almost toyed with their opponents with a high possession game style.

Ben Gunning (four goals) and Josh Evans (three in five minutes) took full advantage to fill their boots and help keep their team firmly on top of the ladder after the first two rounds.

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