HAMILTON Kangaroos broke new ground with a 27-point win yesterday which kept their finals chances alive.
The Kangaroos made it back-to-back victories for the first time in their short Hampden league history and recorded an away triumph for the first time this season when they disposed of Port Fairy at Gardens Oval.
Their 14.14 (98) to 11.5 (71) result, built on the back of Tim Meulendyks’ class and Hugh Douglas’ work ethic, elevated the Kangaroos to seventh on the ladder, trailing Terang Mortlake and Cobden only on percentage with five games to play.
It was a crunch game for both sides and the aftermath couldn’t have been more stark in the change rooms after the match.
The difference between the two sides was not effort but decision-making and skill.
Hamilton Kangaroos were cleaner and smarter, particularly going forward.
Port Fairy wasted chances and often over-possessed, creating turnovers.
Meulendyks epitomised the gulf in execution. The former SANFL player was a standout in the midfield and up forward.
He kicked three goals, including a clever snap from the boundary in the second term and one from 50 metres out off one step in the third quarter, creating a handy foil to six-goal hero Hugh Douglas.
Injured Hamilton Kangaroos coach Jarrod Holt was thrilled with that pair’s influence, along with Roger Morris’ impact on a wing.
(Tim’s) had a great year for us and as coach he is a luxury to have,” Holt said.
“When the ball’s in his hands you know he’s going to do something good with it.
“With Hughie (Douglas) we have spoken about a few areas he needed to work on and we know his best footy is as good as anyone and he brought that today.”
Holt, who missed with a back complaint, said the Roos’ destiny was in their own hands.
“Guys think for themselves. They can see what’s ahead and see there is a chance for a finals spot,” he said.
“We have some tough games coming up but that is something we should strive towards, no doubt.
“We think we are good enough. We just have to make sure we bring that good footy each week.”
Port Fairy assistant coach Aaron Shields said the Seagulls were a work in progress.
Shields said Port Fairy was trying to create a winning culture, which took time and patience.
“What’s dropped off a bit is that consistency in our state of mind,” he said.
“When you come from a club that’s really been battling for quite a while, it’s hard to break that losing mentality.
“Always reminding yourself that you’re always in the game is probably starting to drop away and I think it’s as simple as that.”
Port Fairy started strongly and had a 10-point advantage at the first change.
But Hamilton Kangaroos did the damage in the second term.
They kicked seven goals for the quarter, including the first four, to leave Port Fairy searching for answers.
It found a short reprieve when zippy Jake Hetherington, one of the Seagulls’ most consistent contributors, capitalised after he was awarded a 50-metre penalty.
Jaydon Stiles, who tried hard all game, summed up the Seagulls’ woes when he took a strong grab in the forward pocket only to kick the ball into the man on the mark.
Stiles trimmed the margin back to nine points in the opening stages of the third term, but Meulendyks kicked a long bomb to inspire the Roos.
The Roos’ final margin could have been larger if not for inaccurate kicking — they registered seven behinds in the final term.