REIGNING premier Barnawartha remains undefeated after “pinching” a thrilling seven-point victory off Chiltern in the Tallangatta and District league at Barnawartha on Saturday.
The Tigers were forced to play second fiddle for most of the day before unleashing a devastating late burst to send their opponents crashing back to the pack.
Coach Mark Sarau was under no illusions about how fortunate his team was to win.
“We pinched it,” he said.
“I think we were about 20 points down midway through the last quarter and I was starting to rehearse my post match berate.
“But our boys have a terrific resolve to win.
“It started about round 15 or 16 last year and it’s a great thing to have.
“It won’t work all of the time, though — it’s dangerous to give sides a start and that’s a lesson we need to learn.
“I was just very happy to win because I think Chiltern is a very good side who could easily be 4-0 instead of 2-2.”
Barnawartha, who lost Tim Price and Aaron Craufurd with hamstring and knee injuries, trailed by two goals for most of the clash but hit the lead for the first time late in the final term to reclaim the Laracy Shield.
Recruit Mitch Exton was outstanding for the Tigers while Thomas Anson, Cameron McNeill and Matt Ladgrove also played key roles.
Chiltern’s Mark Nichol picked up plenty of touches, Wayne Shannon’s pace yielded three goals and Cameron Cassidy was a constant threat whenever he went near the ball.
Barnawartha and Kie- wa-Sandy Creek are the only undefeated teams remaining ahead of a clash in round six.
The Hawks hammered Rutherglen by 94 points.
The running brigade of Jye Shields, Tory Ziems, Zac Mona and Trent Turner made their opponents look second-rate as they set up the win early and cruised home.
Rutherglen kicked just two goals after half-time with Sam Bowers and Zach Gallagher the best of a bad lot.
Mitta United defeated Wodonga Saints by 52 points.
Brenton Olsen was the star of the show with five goals while David Hansford, Jarrod Gorupic and Dugal Paton also outpointed their undermanned opponents.
Chris and Craig Lieschke tried hard for the home team.