GALLERY: Hampden humbled as Ovens and Murray reaffirms country powerhouse status

IMPRESSIVE, dominant, clinical and emphatic.

Take your pick.

The Ovens and Murray’s record-breaking 125-point thumping of the Hampden league at Wangaratta was as close to perfection as you could get on a country football field.

It simply dominated.

After leading by nine points at quarter-time, O&M went on to boot 26 of the game’s next 34 goals to blow Hampden out of the water.

It was stunning to watch.

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Almost half the team kicked a goal, with Adam Prior equalling Norm Minns’ long-standing record of 11 goals in a representative match, playing on the ground named in his honour.

It was a history-making day.

Coach Brendan Fevola could not fault his team’s performance.

How could he?

“I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Fevola said.

“I said before the game, let’s play Ovens and Murray footy and I think we did.

“We were tough, hard, skilful, exciting and entertaining.”

Hampden coach Nick O’Sullivan said the Bottle Greens had no excuses.

“They were far too good,” he said.

“We were with them half-way through the second quarter and then we made a few mistakes down back, kicking across goal and missing targets and they got a couple of goals.

“I didn’t think there was enough pressure from our half-forwards on their half-backs. 

“They moved it quick and they hit their targets laces out. They got more space in their forward line and our forward line didn’t function as well as it should have. 

“They were doing half-leads instead of one big, full lead and they weren’t giving any sacrificial leads to allow space behind them.”

Ovens and Murray turned the match into a blowout when it kicked 10 goals on the trot in a sharp burst across the third and final quarters.

It went inside 50 on 66 occasions, scoring 45 times to boot 29 goals for the game.

I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I said before the game ‘let’s play Ovens and Murray footy’ and I think we did. We were tough, hard, skilful, exciting and entertaining. - BRENDAN FEVOLA

Fevola was well held by Hampden vice-captain Paul Hinkley and Wodonga Raiders’ star Dean Limbach was also quiet, but Lavington gun Prior couldn’t be stopped in attack.

He marked everything sent his way, kicked straight and made the most of his mismatch inside 50, having a substantial height and weight advantage over firstly Terang Mortlake’s Chris Baxter and then Camperdown’s Nick Bateman.

The home side’s Joel Mackie, Dean Polo, Tyler Bonat, Brayden O’Hara, Tim Cooper and Steve Jolliffe had control in the midfield despite South Warrnambool rover Nick Thompson, Terang Mortlake midfielder Wil Pomorin and Portland’s Jake Dignan working hard.

They almost doubled Hampden’s clearances and dominated the contested ball.

Brandon Symes fed them all game with silver service in the ruck. He was one of the best players on the ground.

Tyson Hartwig was rock-solid in defence and supported by Judd Porter, Luke Packer and Drew Barnes.

While victory looked all but assured by half-time, the back line remained relentless in keeping Hampden off the scoresheet.

Mackie was clearly best on ground and Prior slotted them from everywhere, but it was Lonnie Hampton who stole the show. The Albury livewire turned the match on its head with his class, pace and trickery and kicked five brilliant goals on the run.

“I just told them to do their thing,” Fevola said.

“They had free rein.

“They were a bit nervous before the game but I just wanted them to pull out their tricks and they did.”

with THE BORDER MAIL

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