Albury wins the battle against Wodonga, but not sure who won the fight

BUSY BOYS: The umpires were kept extremely busy as Albury and Wodonga produced a fiery and physical clash.
BUSY BOYS: The umpires were kept extremely busy as Albury and Wodonga produced a fiery and physical clash.
HOWZAT: Albury's Joel Mackie appeals to the umpire during the niggly clash with Wodonga. Pictures: MARK JESSER

HOWZAT: Albury's Joel Mackie appeals to the umpire during the niggly clash with Wodonga. Pictures: MARK JESSER

Albury has hammered Wodonga by 98 points in a fiery clash.

In his first game for the year, Wodonga enforcer Sam Maher was charged with striking Albury hard man Joel Mackie.

Maher hadn’t been named in either the 21 or as an emergency.

“Yeah, there were quite a few spot fires,” Tigers’ forward Erish Uthayakumar said.

“Basically (co-coaches Shaun Daly and Joel Mackie) told us to try and keep our heads and don’t get sucked into too much of their stuff.”

At one stage in the first half, the umpires stopped play to speak, with players from both clubs crowded around them.

Wodonga caused one of the biggest upsets of recent years in round two with a 40-point caning of the Tigers.

Albury star Brayden O’Hara said pre-match the home team was after revenge following its only loss in the past two years.

And after leading by 41 points at half-time, the Tigers extracted that revenge by smashing the Bulldogs.

Wodonga went into the game with the second-best percentage of the teams chasing Albury, but dropped a massive percentage of 16 in the demolition.

The Bulldogs now trail the fifth-placed outfit, Wodonga Raiders, by two wins and a percentage of around 10 with only five rounds left, although they do face the three weakest teams in the run home.

Albury, meantime, went into the game with the second highest amount of points since 1950, with 1693.

Albury’s 2011 premiership team had 1709 at the corresponding stage.

And the Tigers’ percentage of 277.54 was the highest in that time.

To highlight its percentage, Albury actually suffered a slight fall, despite almost racking up a three-figure win.

Josh Mellington remains on target to kick a century of goals in only 12 games after bagging seven.

He now has 63 from only seven games, with five rounds still left.

Uthayakumar equalled his best haul since joining the club from the Victorian Amateurs with six, while Chris Hyde could well have picked up another three votes.

Underrated defender Simon Thomas was another top performer.

“’Sugar’ Thomas had a big run down and chase,” Uthayakumar said.

“His second and third efforts on the wing were unreal.”

It’s becoming increasingly likely the Bulldogs will have to beat Wangaratta (round 15) and-or Yarrawonga in the final round.