Sunday 1 August 2010

Labrador were made to fight every inch of the way in their eight goal win over the Western Magpies at Chelmer yesterday.

“Their pressure was really good. We struggled to get any system going because of the enormous pressure they put on us,” admitted Tigers coach Jarrod Field.

The Tigers eked out a 33-point lead at the final break before booting six goals to three in the last term to win 16.20 (116) to 9.14 (68).

As determined as the Magpies were, they never looked like beating the equal top placed side and Labrador could have blown the game open earlier had they converted their opportunities.

They were a wasteful 10.19 at three-quarter-time and Field knows their poor conversion – which has already cost them one game against Morningside earlier in the year – could hurt them again.

“We won every quarter but we were not convincing and our conversion was disgraceful,” he said.

“It is going to cost us if we don’t start converting better. It is hard to replicate game-day pressure at training but it is a thing we have got to sort out.”

The Tigers led by just nine points at the first break, kicked four goals to one in the second term, then sprayed 2.9 to 2.2 in a wasteful third term.

Tim Notting was lively up forward again with four goals, although he missed just as many shots again.

Emmaus Wartova, the club’s second-leading goalkicker from half-forward, chipped in with two goals, while busy midfielder Jason Howard capped a strong game with two goals.

The Tigers defence was solid again with Nick Stockdale controlling the last line of defence and keeping quality Magpie Ed McDonnell goalless whenever he moved deep into the home side’s forward line.

McDonnell nonetheless did a power of work further up the ground and was among his side’s better players.

The Tigers also received great run off half-back from Mat Clarke and Steve Wrigley, while Shane Paterson was the side’s best midfielder alongside Howard.

Bustling midfielder James Rozynski won plenty of ball against the high-flying Tigers and the finely-skilled Greg Friis was prominent, although the Magpies coaching staff were happiest with youngster Matt Mitchell.

The 195cm Bundaberg recruit who turned 18 during the week provided a strong contest in a promising sign for the future.

Another talented teenager Zaine Pringle was also good for the home team, while co-captain Chris Mihalopoulos scrounged three goals.

“The last two weeks we’ve won ugly, but sometimes you’ve got to do that,” Field said.

“It’s a venue that we have struggled at – we were behind by 14 points at three-quarter-time here last year and got out of jail, and they beat us in a practice match here at the start of the year, so it was good to get the win.”

The win took Labrador to a 12-3 record and guaranteed a top two berth, while the Magpies dropped to 0-15 and face another tough contract at Southport on Saturday.

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