Flat Pigeons break Saints’ shackles

Chris Kennedy

Chris Kennedy

THE highlight of Yarrawonga’s 110-point win over Myrtleford on Saturday was the unfurling of the Pigeons’ historic back-to-back premiership flag.

The Pigeons lined up proudly, reflecting on perhaps the greatest triumph in their 85-year Ovens and Murray history.

But the occasion might have been too much, as their first half was not the stuff of a reigning premier.

But that might not be giving an undermanned Myrtleford enough credit.

When the Alpine Saints lost their best player, co-coach Brad Murray, with his first hamstring injury at the 10-minute mark of the opening quarter, all seemed lost.

But it was the complete opposite.

Led by Kristan Height and Mitch Dalbosco, the Alpine Saints did not give the Pigeons an easy kick at any time.

They applied pressure, whether by tackling or harassing, and showed plenty of guts and determination.

Yarrawonga led by 24 points at half-time, but it was a lot closer in general play than the scoreboard showed.

Down to just one on the bench, the Saints were always going to struggle and the home team took full advantage by slamming on 14 goals to two in the second half.

Myrtleford had no answer to the Pigeons’ power forwards.

The dynamic trio of Kayne Pettifer, Brad O’Co- nnor and Brendan Fevola combined to kick 20 of the Pigeons’ 22 goals.

Pettifer was sensational with a personal best of 10 goals straight.

Roaming far and wide, O’Connor added four goals and took 14 marks at centre-half-forward.

Fevola ended with 6.6.

Xavier Leslie and Craig Ednie set up plenty, while Scott Oswald was strong in defence.

Hamish Leahy, Brody Ricardi, Leigh Corcoran, Max Rampling and Blair Jose battled manfully against massive odds.

“In the first half we weren’t doing the things we pride ourselves on doing well,” Yarrawonga co-coach Chris Kennedy said.

“In the second half, we closed the space with a different attitude and things spun around.

“The boys know when they are playing poor footy.

“Trying to be up for a lengthy time, you are always going to have flat spots and today we had that.”

Murray was left shattered by the fact he’ll miss Saturday’s winnable game against Corowa-Rutherglen.

“We were down two men and being undermanned made it tough,” he said.

“But we have got a couple to come in this week so we’ll go in confident we can get our first win.”

Myrtleford players wore black armbands as a mark of respect for former champion forward and coach Peter Ruscuklic, who died suddenly on Thursday.