YARRAWONGA co-coach Chris Kennedy usually keeps his temper in check — but at half-time at the J.C. Lowe Oval on Saturday he finally lost it.
Kennedy delivered his best blast since taking over as coach, straight up the middle and missing nobody.
It might just be the sting the Pigeons need to recapture the form that has taken them to the past two premierships before next week’s blockbuster against ladder leader Lavington.
Yarrawonga responded from the spray with a 12-goal third term that blew North Albury out of the contest and gave the Pigeons a 106-point victory.
“I just couldn’t believe how dumb we were with our use of the ball in the first half,” Kennedy said.
“I thought our energy was up but we just went away from what we believe is the best practice for our team.
“Fortunately they started to use their brains and some intelligent decisions followed and we played our best half of footy for the year in the second half.”
The first half was littered with errors.
Both teams’ foot skills and lack of vision proved a recipe for constant turnovers.
However, nobody could have predicted the turnaround that took place in the third term.
Yarrawonga’s dominance started at the centre bounces, with Connor Hargreaves’ athleticism and palming of the ball first class.
Tyler Bonat, Craig Ednie, Xavier Leslie, Tim Cooper and Matt Gorman capitalised and allowed the Pigeons to brush the Hoppers’ aside.
Bonat’s ability to consistently win kicks made him man of the match.
His drive allowed Kayne Pettifer and Brendan Fevola to kick four goals each in the third quarter alone.
Both finished with six.
North Albury’s defence was under immense pressure for the entire second half and had little support from its midfield.
At the other end, the Pigeons’ defence — led by Richard Handreck, Bronson Schofield and Jeremy O’Brien — was watertight, conceding just two behinds in the third quarter.
Yarrawonga’s task was made easier by the Hoppers losing their bench.
Simon Mitchellhill, Jethro Calma-Holt and Adam Elias were all out of the game in the second half with concussion.
“There was not much we could do with three players concussed,” coach Jason Akermanis said.
“Whether it’s unlucky or just by design, in the end, you can’t even coach.
“At three quarter-time you wished you could be like baseball and have the mercy rule and say let’s forget about it boys.
“It’s not much fun with the opposition carving you up.
“We were pretty much at our weakest and they were at their strongest.”