Sport

Nagambie nab Grand Final berth with dominant display over Redlegs

By Meg Saultry

Nagambie 4.5 10.6 15.9 21.11 (137)

Tallygaroopna 2.2 4.5 5.6 5.8 (38)

Goals

Nagambie: A. Haysom 5, M. Wilson, M. Roberts 4, N. Fothergill 3, S. Barber, D. Haysom, B. Fothergill, J. Shiels, D. Fitzpatrick

Tallygaroopna: J. Wellington 2, E. Reeves, S. Arnold, T. Karolidis

Best

Nagambie: A. Haysom, D. Fitzpatrick, S. Barber, D. Comi, C. Rooney, M. Wilson

Tallygaroopna: M. Pianto, S. Cuthbert, B. Sheriff, H. Anderson, T. Fitzsimmons, E. Reeves

One win could be considered a tad fortunate, but two, now that’s a statement.

Nagambie booked its place in the Kyabram District League grand final in roaring fashion, dominating last year’s premier Tallygaroopna from start to finish on Saturday to deliver an ego-bruising 99-point battering to the Redlegs in their qualifying final at Nagambie Recreation Reserve.

Tallygaroopna hadn’t lost a game since late 2017, but has since been dealt two beatings at the hands of Nagambie in only a three-week timeframe.

And with the holy grail now in sight for the Lakers, it seems this year, the hunger has well and truly returned for the red, white and black.

“I feel like last year — Tally were the better side — but I felt our hunger went away a bit, we got complacent,” Nagambie coach Anthony Haysom said.

“But I feel like we’ve got that back. I sort of demand a lot, but I feel the hunger is right there.  They’re really striving for it.”

Nagambie came out firing in its first final with its pressure around the ball almost too much to bear for the Redlegs, who dropped to a 37-point deficit by half-time.

And there was little-to-no fight left in the Redlegs soon after, with the Lakers again making the most of their opportunities to head into the final term 63 points up.

In the final quarter huddle, though the game was out of reach, Tallygaroopna coach Kevin O'Donoghue tried desperately to inspire some emotion or fight in his charges, looking to garner any amount of momentum ahead this week's preliminary final.

But the Redlegs further retreated into their shell, adding only two minor scores, while Nagambie ran rampant to finish one point short of a 100-point trouncing.

Haysom, who remains laser-focused on ultimate success, said it was a really pleasing result for the club.

“It was a good team performance, our role players stuck to their task. That was the most pleasing,” he said.

“We stuck to our systems and didn’t deviate for two hours.”

And it was the team's pressure that set it apart from its opponents, with the Lakers' versatile setup meaning players could roll through multiple positions and keep the pressure at boiling point.

“I could have probably had 18 blokes in the best,” Haysom said.

“Blokes play their role, blokes win the footy, blokes hit the scoreboard.

“It was a real even performance.”

Though in saying that, the coach did single out Steven Barber’s effort, after Barber stood up and took on the ruck role after Damon Carroll was forced out of the game with a dislocated shoulder.

But despite such a decisive win Haysom said his team would be far from complacent ahead of the grand final in two weeks, no matter who the Lakers come up against in the decider.

“(Tally) are going to come back again,” he said.

“And we can’t get complacent. It’s really important that we keep honing in and sharpening our skills and our setup and making sure there isn’t one weak link in two weeks’ time.

“We’ll train Saturday, we’ll go through everything; how we move the ball, how we defend, how we set up at stoppages.

"We'll sharpen our systems. We've put it together for the bulk of the year and I feel we are getting stronger and stronger each time. We can’t afford to deviate from it."

But it's a slightly different reality for Tallygaroopna's O’Donoghue, who said his major task this week was to get the confidence back within his playing group. 

“When (Nagambie) get their tails up they are really hard to stop, they run really well, they’re a really well-balanced team, they work hard together,” O’Donoghue said.

“Our guys were really down in that department and it showed up in the end.

“We got well beaten by a way better side and that happens when you allow the side to dictate terms.”

O'Donoghue said his team "didn’t play smart football", but knows it is much better than what it showed on Saturday.

A preliminary final now looms for the Redlegs, with the minor premiers set to take on an eager Lancaster outfit, with the Wombats working their way from a sixth-placed finish to be one of only three teams remaining in finals contention.

“It’s going to be a battle," O'Donoghue said.

"(The players) are the ones that need to take ownership of that. It's in their hands.

"They can sit and sulk about it or we can be proactive and do something about it and that’s the approach we need to take.”