NIRRANDA coach Aidan Cole has labelled the Blues’ derby triumph against Timboon Demons as their best performance of the season.
Nirranda rose to seventh on the Warrnambool and District league ladder after the 17.18 (120) to 8.5 (53) win at Timboon Recreation Reserve.
Full-forward Rick Spokes led the way with six goals, Ben Ludeman and Peter McDowall kicked three each and onballer Nathan Couch was best afield.
Cole said the Blues’ seven-goals-to-two third term allowed them to turn their dominance in general play into a sizeable lead.
“At half-time we had 6.11. I kept saying to the boys if we’d kicked 11.6 we could’ve had them out of the game already and had them on the back foot from there,” he said.
“We didn’t kick too straight during the first two quarters.
“The blokes up forward started playing in front a bit more and got some easy marks and started kicking straight.”
Cole said feedback from his teammates suggested their performance was an improvement on their win against Russells Creek in round two.
“Talking to the boys at the end of the game, they felt it was our best game we’ve played and I thought that too,” he said.
Defender Nick Walsh and ruckman Tim Abraham, who had the task countering Demon Marcus Hickey, were also key contributors for the Blues.
Other notable efforts came from the Smith brothers Brad and Aaron, who were effective rotating through the midfield and hit up Spokes regularly.
“Rick, for the size that he is, he’s got the best hands I’ve seen,” Cole said.
“It was a good confidence booster for him. Hopefully he can come out next week and kick a bag.”
Joe Paatsch kicked two goals for the Demons in his first match for the club. Teenagers Ryan Smith and Eddie Gaut, along with Sean Giles, were also solid contributors.
Timboon Demons coach Brendan Hickey said the defeat marked a backwards step for his developing side.
“We were a bit flat. To keep things on the positive train and go forward, you’ve got to put it down at this stage to a one-off,” he said.
“We were definitely down in some areas we had been up in.
“Certainly our intensity was flatter than it had been.”
Hickey said he had belief the Demons could cut into the 23-point deficit at half-time but fell away — a frustratingly-recurring theme this season.
“It’s a combination of a few things, maybe a lack of a little bit of fitness,” he said.
“And we talk about the young guys, it’s going to take them time to get used to going in at half-time and coming back out.”