Terang Mortlake earns reward for effort

IF at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Terang Mortlake coach Matthew Irving knew the Bloods’ fortunes would turn around if they stuck to the game plan and output that helped them push finals contenders Portland and North Warrnambool Eagles in the first two rounds.

Their reward came on Saturday in the form of a 36-point win against a persistent Port Fairy at Gardens Oval.

“It is four points I guess and we are rapt with that,”  Irving said.

“Today we did no real different things from what we did the first two weeks.

“The last two games we have been thereabouts but we probably played two of the better teams in the competition too.

“It will give us a little bit of confidence going into the Warrnambool game next week now.”

Terang Mortlake got its edge in the second term, piling on seven unanswered goals to turn a one-point quarter-time deficit into a commanding 42-point half-time lead.

Port Fairy pegged the deficit back to 18 points at the final break after a five-goal-to-one third term but the damage had been done.

Stephen Staunton was dangerous in attack for the Bloods, who used the wing to launch their attacks.

The forward-cum-ruckman booted five goals in an impressive display of strength.

Jake Meade complemented the key position target, with the ball winner kicking four goals to be the Bloods’ spark in their second-term blitz.

Midfielder Damian O’Connor and defender Chris Baxter, who played at half-back and negated Jaxson Barham, were also influential in the result.

Port Fairy recruit Gary Robinson kicked four goals, including the first two of the game, while midfielder Isaac Martin, versatile tall Jaise Coleman and rebounding defender Sam Anson were lively for the Seagulls.

The Seagulls, searching for back-to-back wins for the first time in seven years, started with purpose.

They linked and carried through the middle of the ground and played with enthusiasm, pressuring the Bloods into mistakes.

But Terang Mortlake slowly found its feet and Baxter scored its first goal after capitalising on a Sam Rudolph turnover from defence.

Staunton then kicked back-to-back goals to give the visitors a slender lead.

An Andrew McCartney goal nearing quarter-time ensured the hosts were in front at the first change. Port Fairy’s skill level dropped in the second quarter as Terang Mortlake swung the momentum.

The Seagulls’ wayward kicking into their forward line stifled any chances it had to hit the scoreboard, while Terang Mortlake found numerous avenues to goal at the other end.

Terang Mortlake found space and was clean, leaving the Seagulls in its wake.

Port Fairy responded in the third term, showing the fight which is now part of its make-up under Rudolph.

The Bloods kicked the opening goal of the quarter but the Seagulls regained their composure, kicking the next five to trim the margin to 18 points at the final break.

Irving said the Bloods’ second term was a game-changer.

“It was a massive quarter. We got on the end of some goals and some relatively cheap ones but I think it was the hard work through the mids and just looking through our best players. A lot of our half-backs were really good, which set the game up,” he said.

“The last 15 minutes of the second quarter was what sort of broke the game open so we were rapt with that. 

“They were always going to come because they have a good bunch of players out there. 

“If they did come at us, we had to go back at them, which we did in the end.”

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