LADDER leader Albury gained further momentum for its round 18 blockbuster against Yarrawonga on Saturday week with an 89-point hiding of Wangaratta at Albury Sportsground on Saturday.
The Tigers blew the game open with another devastating first quarter before switching on to auto pilot as they cruised to their sixth successive win by more than 50 points.
Ruckman Luke Wells led the domination with a best-on-ground performance while Matt Shir is shaping as a finals wildcard after turning in a classy showing in his second match back from injury.
Joel O’Connell shut down Magpie midfielder Ben Davies, Luke Packer provided plenty of dash from defence and Chris Hyde, Lonnie Hampton and Joel Mackie took turns of terrorising the opposition.
Hyde said it was a solid rather than brilliant performance by Albury.
“It was good to get the four points,” Hyde said.
“That was the main thing.
“Our conversion is an area we need to work on because it probably could have been 12 goals to two at quarter-time, but you will always take a 90-point win and we were reasonably pleased with how we played.”
Wangaratta played its best football in the second quarter when it outscored Albury by seven points, thanks to some smart play from Matt Grossman, Josh and Judd Porter and Matt Kelly.
They helped lift the Magpies intensity around the packs and provided dangerman James Wong with good delivery inside 50 metres.
Wong started the match on a wing.
However he was then pushed forward and kicked four goals to move within one of North Albury’s Adam Prior in the race for the Strang medal.
But Wangaratta’s revival was short-lived and as it managed only three goals for the rest of the match as Wells and Shir triggered plenty of Tiger scoring opportunities.
Shir showed no signs of the leg injuries that have held him back for most of the season with eight of his kicks inside 50 metres resulting in marks.
Hyde said Shir’s biggest asset was his versatility.
“Shirry’s second game was good,” he said.
“He’s a fantastic user of the ball.
“He can play in the midfield, back or forward and adds real versatility to us.
“Along with Billy (Wells), I thought he was really good.”