THE flickering flame that is Kolora-Noorat’s finals hopes remains alight after a first-quarter blitz sparked a vital win against Old Collegians.
The Power booted 7.1 to 0.0 with the breeze and restricted the Warriors to 1.10 by half-time en route to the upset 12.4 (76) to 6.13 (49) win at Noorat.
The win represented reward for effort for Ben Kenna’s men, who had been competitive in four consecutive defeats in the past month.
They are seventh, two games and percentage behind the fifth-ranked Warriors, but still with hope of playing in a ninth-consecutive finals series.
Kenna said the result was “the win we needed”. He said the Power had shown promise of late, despite losses to Merrivale, Allansford and Dennington.
“I think the last four weeks, although we haven’t chalked up a win and we’ve been beaten by 50, 60 points, I can’t question the effort,” he said.
“We just haven’t had the ability to beat those sides.
“For three quarters we were good last week, we played two-and-a-half quarters against other sides up there and today we were good for four.”
Martin Wynd, Brad Hillman and Luke Kenna all kicked goals for Kolora-Noorat during its early burst as Old Collegians went goalless.
The Warriors dominated most of the second term but had just 0.9 to their name until Josh Walsh converted a set shot to cut the margin to 40 points.
A four-goals-to-one third term lifted the visitors to within 32 points and there was further hope when Jack Dunkley snapped truly out of pack to open the last.
But chances went begging as time ticked away, with the Power sealing the points through a Nathan Cahir goal in the dying stages.
Centre half-back Michael Sleeman was best-afield for the Power while Jono Gleeson, Joe Kenna and Joe O’Sullivan worked tirelessly.
Nathan Forth led the Warriors’ scoring with two goals, both in the third term. Forth, Paul Campbell, Matt Lynch and Eli Barker were their best.
“Before the game, the message I gave was we’ve had a tough four weeks and they’ve had a soft four weeks,” Kenna said. “I thought potentially we’d be on and they might not be and that’s what panned out.”
Old Collegians coach Daryl Beechey said the result left his men in jeopardy of losing what had been a hard-earned spot in the top five.
A match against sixth-ranked Nirranda in a fortnight — the second half of a split round — has suddenly taken on extra importance. “We knew we had to win three out of the last six, so we still need to win three out of the last five to keep us in contention for a finals spot,” Beechey said.
“Today was a pretty pivotal one. If we had have got over the line we could’ve sewn up a finals spot but now it’s gone back to being a bit dicey.”
Beechey said Kolora-Noorat “wanted it more early on”. He was pleased the Warriors could outscore the Power thereafter but that was little consolation.
“They got the jump and we had to try and claw our way back,” he said.