WANGARATTA Rovers bounced back strongly from last weekend’s thrashing with a 75-point triumph over Wodonga Raiders at W.J. Findlay Oval on Saturday.
The Hawks’ topliners stepped up superbly, with power forward Daniel Archer leading the charge with seven goals in a powerful performance and utility Lochy Dornauf also at his damaging best.
“Lochy has been so good for us on and off the field and has an amazing set of hands for a player of his size,” coach Paul Maher said.
“Last week I thought we were more concerned about the individual things and today we focused on what we can do for the team and each other.
“We just need to improve our key areas if we are to challenge the top three and the biggest thing is our skill level.”
The Hawks’ domination was no more evident than in a period from late in the first quarter to the end of the third when they kicked 13 of 15 goals.
Shane Gaston was superb in the ruck and his combination with Sam Carpenter and Dornauf was the catalyst for a dominant midfield.
Dornauf bobbed up with three goals and, when he wasn’t doing that, roamed far and wide to collect over 30 possessions, as well as dragging down some telling marks.
Alex Marklew finished with three goals with his first six-pointer coming at the end of a four-bounce swerving run through half-forward.
Tyson Hartwig eclipsed Raiders’ star forward Dean Limbach, who had a quiet day kicking 1.3.
James Mulligan, in his second game back from a knee injury suffered in round one, settled in nicely across half-back and dragged in several telling marks.
The Raiders were outclassed, but fought the game out to their credit and a six-goal last quarter will give them confidence heading into next week’s clash with North Albury.
Kyle Maynard kicked three of those goals and laid off a delightfully-weighted handball to set up another for Brett Lefoe.
Brad Hibberson gave his all in the midfield while Jack Di Mizio, despite being opposed to Archer, was still the Raiders’ most influential player.
“It is really important we just don’t let the season fizzle out by throwing up the white flag,” Raiders co-coach Simon Bone said.
“Injuries have forced us to play some players earlier than planned, but some of them today showed positive signs.”