A FINAL term resurgence helped the Bathurst Giants to an impressive 14-8-92 to 11-14-80 win over local rivals the Bathurst Bushrangers Outlaws in Saturday’s Central West AFL local derby.
While the Giants had led at the first change and were still in front at the long break, the Outlaws rallied in the third quarter to snatch the lead and momentum at George Park 1.
However, some positional changes from Giants coach Mark Kennedy saw his side take control in the middle of the field. Winning a bulk of the centre clearances led to plenty of inside 50s and goals – enough to take the win against the Outlaws.
“That last quarter for us, it was fantastic,” Kennedy said.
“They had got a bit of ascendancy on us and we really needed to re-establish ourselves. So we we put Nath [Belbin], Jenko [Paul Jenkins] and Alex Cuttiford – who had an absolute blinder in the middle – in the centre and we won the centre clearances five to one in that last quarter.
“We had 12 entries into the forward 50 and just made the most of it, we kicked five-goals-four to Bushrangers’ one-goal-two.”
While the last two quarters of the match were one-sided in terms of scoring – Outlaws having kicked five majors to the Giants’ two in the third period – the first half of the contest saw little between the Bathurst sides.
Still, the Giants were able to nose ahead of the previously undefeated Outlaws and at half-time held a 7-4-46 to 5-8-38 lead.
“The guys got a little bit nervous because they’re not used to being in front for two quarters, especially against a side like the Outlaws. I think that’s when we started to drop our heads a little bit,” Kennedy said.
The experienced Outlaws outfit impressed in the third quarter to take a 14-point lead, but it was an advantage they were unable to hold onto.
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Co-coach Tom Regan ended up kicking three goals for the Bushrangers with Riley Holland and Nathan Swards each booting a brace in a contest highlighted by hard tackling and some impressive marks.
Kennedy was pleased with the way his entire squad played as the Giants climbed into third on the ladder.
“Aiden [Macauley] again up front was great, just being that goal sneak, he kicked five goals. Jenko kicked a couple then to have Reilly Mitchell and Oscar Mann to kick the two last goals of the game – they busted themselves all game – that was great,” he said.
“Sam Sloan got our players’ player and he did a really good job up front for us, he lead well, he scrapped on the ground well. He was like another rover around the ground, the kid is six-foot-three.
“Mitch Taylor, he played back and he cut so many marks off, backed himself, ran with the footy – the confidence is growing and growing – and Nic Broes had another absolute blinder.
“Everyone, the whole side, they all played well.”
The Giants will face the other Bushrangers outfit – the Rebels – this Saturday.