CATCH us if you can.
Reigning premier Koroit believes its ability to play keepings off could help the Saints in their quest for four straight Hampden league premierships.
The Chris McLaren-coached side used the tactic to perfection against North Warrnambool Eagles in the grand final rematch at Victoria Park on Saturday, winning 12.15 (87) to 8.7 (55).
McLaren labelled the Saints’ ball use “first-class”.
“If we maintain possession for a long time, sides waste a lot of energy chasing,” he said.
“We have really worked on that, so when we get it sometimes we’ll go really fast and other times we might go a bit slower.
“We change our gears but are always looking to move the footy around and hold the footy for long periods.”
Eagles co-coach Rory Taggert said the Saints’ slick movement kept his team at bay.
“We know how well structured and well run they are and it definitely showed,” he said.
“They had us running around like crazy and I think when teams get you playing like that it’s pretty easy for them and you’re doing all the work.
“We need to learn to press up a bit better. When they had the ball they had way too many uncontested marks.”
North Warrnambool Eagles started strongly, kicking three of the first four goals through Jarryd Lewis (two) and Joe McKinnon to take a three-point lead into quarter-time.
Koroit forwards Marcus Darmody and Michael Darmody, ruckmen Ethyn Zimme and Jeremy Hausler and defenders Dallas Mooney and Jayden Watson were influential in turning the tables the Saints’ way.
Midfielders Liam Hoy and Ben Goodall were also damaging as Koroit kicked nine goals to five after the first break.
“We’ve had sides have a bit of momentum against us at times, like Cobden last week down there in the first quarter we were right under the pump,” McLaren said.
“We ground our way back and might have been a goal down at quarter-time whereas other sides might be three or four down.
“You need to be able to defend well when the momentum goes against you.”
Midfielder Damian O’Connor was the driver in the Saints’ engine room in the opening half but spent much of the second on the bench nursing calf and groin injuries.