Port Lincoln football
Marble Range 12.12 (84) def Tasman 3.7 (25)
IT WAS a wet day at the Gary for the much anticipated first v third clash between Rangers and Tasman.
The Roosters were without several senior players due to injury notably Mason and Wagner with Marble Range nearing full strength.
Tasman won the toss and kicked to the northern end with no real assistance from the light breeze.
Drizzly rain made early going slippery until Tasman drew first blood with a goal to Brodie White.
Clean ball handling was difficult and both half back lines were on top with the ball yo-yoing between them.
There was no breeze to speak of and when Watson marked 30 metres out and kicked truly it was 1-2 apiece.
Tasman coach Boyd McCurry and Jace Rodda were in and under everything and Ben Daniels was providing run off half back playing a kick behind the ball.
For the Rangers Ryan Gurtin and Wade Hansen were rebounding well off half back with no team gaining the ascendency going into the first break.
Coach Reece Francis urged his team to focus on winning the contested ball which was a similar theme at the Tasmans huddle.
The second quarter belonged to Marble Range. Jacob Watson was outpointing Rhys Kelsh at the ball ups and giving his mids, Cody Pilgrim and Boyd West first use out of the centre.
Billy Byass and Nick Cooper were lively across half forward and Tynan Keeley and Kory Beard were presenting well.
West centred a ball from the flank accurately to Ty George who goaled from 40m.
When a slick handball from Byass found Cooper who in turn found Keeley 30m out the resulting set shot goal put the Rangers up by two.
Watson continued to give his mids good service and was getting on top of Kelsh and Gray.
The Tasman defence was under pressure as the ball was held in the Ranger forward line for much of the quarter.
Byass was caught high dead in front and goaled from the free, then Gurtin on a long run from half back kicked truly to take the score to 5-3 to Tasman 1-3.
The rain was still steady and McCurry and Rodda were working hard to bring their side back into the contest.
Following a free in the centre McCurry found Harris who took a nice grab forward. A free to Rosalia resulted in a good goal.
Zac Calderwood, Hansen and ruckman Watson playing a kick behind were making life hard for the Tasman forwards and the rebounding corridor football found Cooper who goaled.
George then found Beard on the lead giving his chorus of supporters from the Sturt senior side (over during their SANFL bye) reason to celebrate as he slotted one through. After a dominant quarter Rangers led 8-5 to 2-3.
Tasmans came out hard to start the third, keeping the ball trapped in their forward half.
With some of their usual avenues to goals unavailable, goals were hard to come by however they outscored Rangers in this quarter 1-3 to 1-1 with Jace Rodda capping off some nice work.
The rain began to clear and Tasman looked harder at the contest than Marble Range.
Calderwood was having the better of Tansell, but Tex Sinclair and Chase Tucker were pushing forward well and Kody Rosalia was getting plenty of it.
Lance Appleby had a similar role for the Rangers and was feeding his forwards from his wing.
Beard was attracting a crowd as the deep forward and from a free that came from a five v one contest he kicked another to chants of support from his old Sturt comrades.
The score was 9-6 to 3-6 as they started the last quarter with the Ranger midfield getting back on top.
West, Appleby and Pligrim were moving the ball quickly and the Rangers defence pressed up to keep the ball in their forward half.
Beard moved out to centre half forward and Keeley kicked another couple as the deep forward.
Tasman continued to apply pressure but Rangers ran out eventual winners 12-12 to 3-7.
Tasmans were well served by coach McCurry and Rodda who battled well all day and would be well pleased with the development of some of their younger brigade Rosalia, Ambrose and Tansell.
The unavailability of some key forwards hurt them in the end and the result may be different with a full list at their next clash.
Rangers’ defence was miserly and well served by Hansen, Gurtin and Calderwood.
Watson won the ruck battle when it mattered, and it was a day made to order for West who won plenty through the midfield.
Beard kicked four and Keeley three and the presence of these two in form key forwards was probably the difference between the teams.