Mallee Park 7.6 (48) def Marble Range 6.8 (44)
The light rain that accompanied the reserves game had cleared for the start of the Marble Range v Mallee Park A grade clash on Saturday at Wangary.
It was a messy affair with constant turnovers from both sides and some poor foot skills on display.
A good deal of pressure applied by the opposing defences contributed but it was hard to find excuses.
The ball see-sawed between defences early with Zac Calderwood patrolling the Rangers back half and having the better of Hippy Wanganeen.
At the other end Jerome Ah Kit-Burgoyne was mopping up while Ky Miller matched up well against the dangerous Kory Beard.
The Ranger half forwards were again busy but shots on goal went begging but eventually Byass found Appleby who got scoring underway.
A poor turnover then by Rangers in the Mallee Park forward line (which was to become a theme for the day), resulted in a goal to Jayden Roderick from 40.
Half back intercepts continued both ways with Glen Schreiber for Rangers and K. Miller doing a great job on Beard until Keeley forced a turnover 40m out and kicked the resulting shot from on the arc. Marble Range led 2.2 to 1.1 at quarter time.
The game continued to be an arm wrestle in the second quarter, but Mallee Park started to get on top in the midfield.
Jayden and Tyler Roderick were getting plenty from the middle and Rangers looked to be missing the influence of Watson.
West, Owen and Appleby were battling hard and the physical pressure in the contest was increasing when Mallee’s Willis Trott was shown a yellow card.
Rangers regained some momentum and Keeley snapped a nice goal off hands over the left shoulder, but this was the only major scored for the term.
When both sides headed for the sheds it was a point the difference, Marble Range 3.5 to Mallee Park 3.4.
The arm wrestle continued into the third term, Calderwood had the better of Graham Johncock and K. Miller had Beard on a short leash.
Beard moved out to centre half forward and began feeding his forwards well and Byass finished off some good work kicking truly.
Kingsley Bilney Jnr provided good run playing more behind the ball than his customary midfield role when he found Trott on the wing, unmarked after completing his stint on the pine
He found Clifford Warrior whose neat kick laced Sam Pickett in front of goal.
His major made it 4.8 to 4.4 after the premiership quarter but the game was there for whichever team wanted it more.
Coach Reece Francis called for his players to take the game on through the corridor, but this resulted in several midfield and halfback turnovers caused by Mallee Park’s pressure at the body and ball carrier.
Mallee Park made the most of these kicking 3.2 to the Ranger 2 goals in the final term.
Poor discipline saw an all-in melee erupt in front of Bandy’s Bar with a report made by the goal umpire.
Continual turnovers by Marble Range eventually saw the ball with Johncock on the 50, on the highway side of the Gary.
At 6.8 to 6.6 Rangers’ way he calmly went back, with hamstrings twitching, and slotted the goal, Mallee Park winning by four points.
Ranger defenders Schreiber and Calderwood were good and Appleby and Cody Pilgrim had influence in the midfield.
Mallee’s best included key defenders Ah-Kit-Burgoyne and Miller who did a great job on Beard to keep him goalless, and for their midfield run Bilney and J. Roderick.