Cats claw back to overhaul ladder rivals

FINLEY had a shaky start against Rumbalara in its bid to hold on to the top spot on the ladder.

The Cats were held goalless in the opening term, but coach Damian Sexton fired up his team as it clawed back into the match.

Rumbalara led at every change, but the Cats persisted to record a 10-point victory at Jerilderie.

“To the boys’ credit they worked hard and kept some really good structures and ended up winning the game,” Sexton said.

“We’ve got a group of blokes who I believe are second to none in their resilience.

“They’re playing for their town and their community and we dig deep on that time and again and it prevails — we’re very fortunate to have the group we’ve got and it’s shown over the first 12 games of the year.”

Sexton said those players were playing for their spot in a competitive team.

“We lost two games and we hurt and learnt from them,” he said.

“But going forward we’ve got to perform like that to keep our spot in the team as individuals and for the team to be in finals at the end of year.

“But we know there’s a fair few other clubs who want to be there as well.”

Both teams had to contend with the strong wind, as well as the wet weather which arrived in the second half.

“They got a bit of a start on us with the breeze,” Sexton said.

“They’re a good, honest side and play good footy, there’s plenty of talented and highly-gifted players, but the conditions probably didn’t suit them.”

Matthew Jackson was solid in the back six for the Cats along with Cam Robertson, while Tom Seccull was sensational up forward in wet conditions.

First gamer Lachlan Small also had an impact.

“He was magnificent and he’s a bloody ripping onball player,” Sexton said.

“We don’t have any superstars in the team, it’s just a pretty even spread of players.”

Protecting top spot was a psychological boost, but Sexton played down its importance.

“You’ve got to win week by week and if that puts you on top you take that every day,” he said.

“Going forward in a position we want to be, hopefully we can keep it up week by week.”