TUNGAMAH proved itself to be a class above Rennie when it romped to an 87-point victory in the South-East competition on Saturday.
But Bears coach Nick Doyle said his team didn’t have it all their own way, and welcomed the pressure and the build up before the game.
The Hoppers were more than competitive in the opening half and caused plenty of problems for their undefeated rivals, with only 23 points separating the teams at the main break.
“Blokes were nervous and it was good to have that feeling before the game,” Doyle said.
“Early on they put the pressure on us and we probably struggled with it.
“But once we adjusted we got on top of them and I’m rapt with the way the boys went about it.
“We had a big emphasis on the game not only because we have a good rivalry, but they’ve won their last seven and are in pretty good form.
“And although we were winning games I don’t think we’ve been playing to the best of our abilities.”
But the good teams show their best when they’re challenged and the Bears certainly responded convincingly.
“We’ve got respect for every side we play but at times you can get away with not doing everything right,” Doyle said.
“But when you come up a side that does put pressure on you and you don’t do those things you train for you’ll get beaten.
“The boys responded well and after half-time they did a great job.”
Homegrown talent Ash Saunders has been stepping up in front of goal during Lee James’ absence through injury.
He backed up last week’s six goals with four.
Jake Jones was strong in the ruck, but Doyle said Kyle Archibald in the centre put the spark back into the Bears.
“We were probably losing the contested footy in the first half, but that was probably one of the main things that turned around for us in the second half,” he said.
While the Bears remain unbeaten, Doyle said there was no complacency at the club.
Next week Tungamah faces Shepparton East, which beat it this time last year to halt another undefeated run.
“Every team is improving so they’re going to sort us out if we don’t keep improving as well,” Doyle said.
“We can (do that) if we keep training hard and working hard.
“(Last year) we went with the wrong attitude and got done, so the focus will be on getting the job done.”
East was too good for Dookie United, running out 25-point winners at Dookie.
Katamatite had a convincing 54-point win against Katunga, while Katandra downed Waaia by 54 points.
A thrilling draw between Berrigan and Picola United highlighted North-West action.
Dylan Cunningham kicked four goals for the Blues in a low-scoring affair, with the Saints charging home from 23 points behind at three quarter-time to pinch a share of the points with four goals to one.
Aaron Purcell’s eight goals helped Jerilderie thrash Mathoura by 85 points, Blighty downed Tocumwal by 20 points and Yarroweyah edged out winless Deniliquin Rovers by 13 points, while Strathmerton had the bye.