IT took a final quarter positional adjustment, but the Bathurst Giants held off a determined Parkes Panthers outfit on Saturday to win 14-5-89 to 9-8-62 and cement a Central West AFL top-three spot.
While the finals bound Giants were hot favourites to win the match at Northparkes Oval, a Panthers outfit hunting for its second win of the season pushed the visitors all the way.
The Panthers kicked three straight majors to start the final term and in doing so, got within a point of the the lead. It saw Giants coach Mark Kennedy alter his line-up to help swing momentum back in their favour.
“It was a good game, Parkes threw it at us,” he said.
“We had to dig a little bit deeper and we threw the magnets around on the board. We put Jack Goodsell forward, we were lacking a little bit on the half forward line for a target.
“Jack took a few really good marks and delivered it forward for Aiden Macauley and Franky Bright and they got the job done for us.
“It was a bit of a wake-up call for us, but we just switched the switch back on and the guys really used the ball well and controlled it out of the midfield again.
“We’ve cemented third spot, so now we can only go up from here.”
Sam Sloan started Saturday’s match in the ruck for the Giants, giving James Kennedy the chance to play as a loose man in the back line in the absence of Mitch Taylor.
Kennedy took some good defensive marks and helped feed the ball back to the Giants’ strong midfielders. Still, things remained tight, the Giants leading 7-2-44 to -5-4-34 at the long break.
In the third term the Giants restricted Parkes to just the single major to push their lead out to 19, before holding off a late fight back.
“The stand-out for me was Reilly Mitchell, 40 plus possessions, and Nic Broes again out of the middle and just controlling the ball, and also Aiden kicking seven,” Kennedy said.