THINGS appeared to be almost back to business as usual at Riverside Park on Saturday.
MARK: Lake Boga’s Lachlan Murley gained some space to mark against the dominant Blues. PICTURE — Ken Jenkins
After recent weeks which saw Kerang nearly rolled in trying conditions at home against Woorinen and triumph by just four goals over a vastly improved Balranald at Greenham Park, the Blues handed out their second hundred-point belting of the season to Lake Boga.
The clash was as intrinsically one-sided as the Round 2 encounter at Boga, despite the Magpies managing five last-quarter goals to three.
The return of Karl Lohde, Lance Picioane and Jon Murphy had Kerang’s first team looking more like itself again after recent injuries to top players, while the return through the reserves of Kobi Wilson and Greg Dickson was also pleasing.
Whether Dickson remains in the Blues’ best 22 is a question that will likely be answered in coming weeks, but Wilson’s return to Troy Coates’ starting line-up will further add height and flexibility in a key position at either end of the ground.
The win puts the Blues in the box seat to claim the minor premiership, while Lake Boga’s bottom three position was basically ensured anyway.
The Magpies had no answers to the home side’s dominance around the ground, with the Blues proving too strong in all positions on the ground.
Even on the last line of defence when Boga appeared a likely chance to score, Kerang was able to prevent the Magpies from doing so, reload, and hurt the visitors going the other way.
The home side’s dominance was underscored early, with key forwards Luke Livingston and Troy Thamm getting on the board early.
Two goals to each of them, plus three others to the home side, saw the Blues jump out to a seven goal lead at the first change.
Livingston would finish the day with 10 goals in a dominant display, while Thamm managed four.
While the Blues were better around the ground, it was in attack where the Pies were least able to stem the damage from the home side, with Livingston and Thamm not able to be stopped.
Troy Coates and Luke Cotchett, who managed three goals, were again impressive in the Blues’ midfield, while sharp shooter Marc Reiffel stood up for three of his own.
The gulf in class between the two sides was emphasises in a two-minute period in the second quarter which saw consecutive attempts by Boga to rebound from the last line of defence fail.
After intercepting a kick in, Thamm was wayward in front of goal, giving Boga another opportunity to clear out of defence.
The chance was again wasted, though, with the ball once again finding its way to the hands of Thamm, who this time made the Magpies pay the ultimate price.
Goals to Marc Reiffel and Luke Cotchett remained unanswered by the visitors, with Kerang jumping to a 75-point half-time lead.
Lance Picioane didn’t return after the main break for the Blues, but it mattered little to the result of the day’s game, with only the final margin in doubt.
While Boga was able to carry the ball at stages for the first three quarters, the result was invariably a turn-over. Whether it occurred in the midfield, at half-forward or on the last line of defence, it always seemed inevitable the Blues would regain control of the ball and score quickly on the counter-attack.
Momentum shifted somewhat in the last quarter, with Nick O’Neill shooting home three majors, as Joel Dwyer and Josh Ewart both converted to make Boga’s final tally five.
The Pies can take something out of a last quarter which they won by two goals, but an honest assessment puts Lake Boga a long, long way off the competition’s top side.
Kerang travels to Alan Garden Memorial Reserve next week, while the Pies have the week off before hosting Tyntynder.
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