FINLEY came from behind to steal a gutsy win against arch-rival Deniliquin on Saturday.
But playing their home match at the Blighty Recreation Reserve, coach Damian Sexton said he had hoped to see more from the Cats who did just enough to win by 10 points — 12.11 (83) to 10.13 (73).
“If it was round 18, I’d be a bit frustrated,” Sexton said of the Cats’ performance.
“But there’s plenty of room to improve.
“It was a great result because we probably didn’t play as well as we would want or expect to play.
“To still win the game in a tough encounter is fantastic for us because we know, as a group, we’ve got a fair bit of upside in our performance.
“We respect Deni highly —they’re arch rivals — so to play poorly but still win, we’ll take that.”
Sexton said the Cats’ had been marred by bad decisions and skill errors.
“I’d still say my group is probably the best hard-ball getters in the comp,” Sexton said.
“But at times, we made bad decisions — if your foot and hand skills aren’t up to scratch, it makes it bloody hard to win the game.
“By three-quarter-time there was a point or two in it but, to the boys’ credit, they dug deep and got over the line.
“It doesn’t matter where either of us is on the ladder, when we play each other it’s always a pretty even contest.
“We knew it would be tough but we got the points and can move on to the next week.”
Cam Robertson was again one of the Cats’ best up forward with two goals, and Tom Seccull worked hard all day at centre half forward.
But Sexton said it was an ordinary day at the office for the Cats.
“There were a lot who contributed but at certain points of the game,” he said.
But not only was Sexton happy his side could win when not at its best, but there are up to six Cats to return to the team.
“We’ve been playing a lot of young blokes and I’m proud of how they’re performing,” Sexton said.
“From a club point of view, we’ve got five boys just out of the under-17s playing and they’re important going forward.”
Rob Jewell is due back in the next few weeks and former North Albury and Bushranger Reid Crowe was missing from the line-up, as were Tim and Will Robertson.
It’s been a tough initiation for the Cats, with Numurkah away in the opening round and the Rams on neutral territory.
And irrespective of the how, they can be satisfied they’ve opened their account with two wins.
“We respect both of those opponents highly, they’re made up of some really good, young talent,” Sexton said.
“We knew they’d be tough encounters and I’m pretty happy knowing we won them.”