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NAB League | Bushies back on winners’ list with hard-fought victory over Bendigo

Dominant performer: Seymour’s Nick Quigg continued his scintillating NAB League form at the weekend. Photo by Aydin Payne

A final-quarter blitz has lifted Murray Bushrangers to their fifth win of the NAB League season as they triumphed by 10 points over Bendigo Pioneers in a bruising encounter at Mildura Sporting Precinct.

Seymour’s Nick Quigg was the star for the visiting Bushrangers, leading from the front through the midfield to claim 31 disposals in what was his most complete game of the NAB League season.

With the opening round of the under-18 state championships leaving a number of the Bushrangers’ key players unavailable, a new-look squad hit the park with a number of bottom-age players keen to make an impression.

The 9.7 (61) to 7.9 (51) victory cements their position in sixth on the NAB League table, and Murray Bushrangers coach Mark Brown said his team showed great character to come away with the win on the road.

“It was without doubt a scrappy game despite the beautiful conditions, especially in the first half, but in the second half we started to get a bit of ascendancy through the midfield,” Brown said.

“I thought we competed a lot better in front of the footy and as a result we kicked six goals to two in the second half to get home by 10 points in the end.

“Good sides win ugly, so for us to travel all the way up to Mildura and grind out a win was very impressive and something our young group can be very proud of.”

With slow starts being an area of concern for the Bushies in the past month, they were once again unable to gain any ascendancy early, with a scrappy first half giving the Pioneers a one-goal lead at the main change.

Needing to improve across the ground in the second half, it was the Murray midfielders who led the way in the third term, as the likes of Quigg, Noah Bradshaw and Coby James began to dominate around the stoppages.

They levelled the scores at three-quarter time and the game was well and truly up for grabs in the final term, with the run and skill of the Bushies creating the scoring opportunities they needed to come away with the victory.

The win was inspired by a midfield quartet that combined for 110 possessions, and Brown spoke highly of the work of Seymour product Quigg and how Ryan adapted to the speed of NAB League football.

“Quigg has been fantastic all year for us. He is a really competitive and clean midfielder that stood up for us on the weekend when the game was there to be won,” Brown said.

“Oscar Ryan in his second game was superb. You always find that when you have a lot of players out due to national duties, there are one or two underagers that emerge and he is a perfect example of that.

“His game on Sunday was just superb having the 26 touches and taking 10 marks and, as coaches, we are very excited to see what he can do for the remainder of the season.”