Bloods beaten in ‘best battle’

By Daniel Hughes

Good Friday footy is celebrated and enjoyed by so many people in the Southern Riverina.

With the season on a long hiatus, we dove in to the ‘best battle’ between last weekend's Easter match up that would have featured Tocumwal v Strathmerton.

The two sides were set to bring a crowd to the Tocumwal Recreation Reserve on Good Friday, April 10.

As always, let us know where you think we have missed the mark, or hit the nail on the head with the best match up in recent history between the clubs.

Tocumwal v Strathmerton – Round one 2017 at Strathmerton

Tocumwal came agonizingly close to defeating 2016 grand finalist Strathmerton on Saturday, April 8 in the Picola & District Football League.

In what was a promising start for a new-look Bloods outfit however, it was the Bulldogs who fought back from a 23 point deficit at three quarter time to take the opening round contest by just five points.

It was an intense battle from the outset with the visitors starting the game better thanks to superior ball movement and full forward Dylan Flanagan and playing-coach Sean Logie hitting the scoreboard early.

In the second term the midfield battle heated up, however Tocumwal was hampered by injuries to Logie and full back Matt Peterson shortly before half time.

In the third quarter the Bloods again played well kicking with the wind.

Paddy O’Brien and Lachie McDonald were having great debut games for the visitors, and more experienced players Keith Baron and Flanagan were offering strong marking options.

Bulldogs midfielder Daniel Ellis and forward Adrian Crestani were starting to have an impact on the game, along with co-coach Mick Laidlaw.

Key Bloods onballer Stephen Patten, playing his 150th game for Tocumwal, injured his ankle, and from then on it was always going to be hard for the visitors to hold on to their lead.

In the last term Strathy managed three centre bounce clearances early for two quick goals.

Tocumwal had to dig deep with a lot of the players starting to get heavy legs, both teams were playing desperate footy and the contest was memorable to watch.

Experienced forward Crestani put Strathy in front from 15m out with five minutes left on the clock.

The Bloods fought back and had chances to steal the game in the final minutes but couldn’t convert.

Trailing by six points, experienced Blood Keith Baron lined up for goal but missed by a whisker, leaving Tocumwal five points behind when the final siren sounded.

Final score, Strathmerton 9.13 (67) to Tocumwal 8.14 (62).

Flanagan was a clear best on ground slotting five majors for the Bloods, while Crestani and Lewis O’Sullivan chipped in with two important goals apiece for the home side.