A FAST start preceded a physical workout as Allansford remained two matches clear inside the Warrnambool and District league top five.
The Cats were destructive in kicking 7.4 to 0.0 with the wind to open their clash with South Rovers at Walter Oval on Saturday.
But they had to work hard thereafter as the Lions fought their way into the contest without seriously threatening to snatch an unlikely win.
The 12.15 (87) to 5.11 (41) result was ultimately a reflective of the two sides’ progress this season on a day dominated by wind and rain. Of the 17 goals kicked in the match, 14 came at the wind-assisted northern end. Allansford coach Josh Parkinson was upbeat about the performance, describing it as “industrious” and a step forward in trying weather.
He said his men used the ball well and “lowered their eyes” when going into attack with the breeze at their backs.
During the alternate quarters, running towards the non-scoring end, they had to play defensively and work hard, “which I thought we did”.
“We were looking to come out in the third quarter and put a few in but that didn’t eventuate,” he said.
“They got their noses over it a little bit more often than we did. We didn’t get the break on them like we wanted to.
“Certainly, we knew we had to lift our work rate in the last quarter, which we were able to do.”
Former J. A. Esam Medal winner Nick Johnstone was best afield for the Cats on a day tailor made to his physique and brand of football.
“He’s twice as fit as he was last year and he can certainly still improve in that area. But he can do a lot of things other players simply can’t,” Parkinson said.
His teammates Sam Burchell and Justin Nowell kicked three goals each. Rory Neeson kicked two and impressed with his tackles and one percenters.
For South Rovers, Nathan Krepp kicked two goals and was among the best, along with defender Nick Wormald and onballer Adam Payne.
South Rovers coach Brendan Whelan said the Lions matched the Cats in the physical stakes, but lacked a forward line capable of kicking a winning score.
He said his side was “asleep” as Allansford ran riot early, but was pleased with its response. The Cats managed just 2.4 with the wind in the third term.
“Our attack on the ball was fierce yesterday. After quarter-time we got on top in a lot of areas. I was really pleased with our efforts,” he said.
Whelan said the Lions’ intensity and pressure had been high in recent weeks but “it hasn’t been coming off on the scoreboard”.
“We recognise the fact we’ve struggled up forward. We’re still not kicking enough goals,” he said.