Blitzkrieg a sign of Hoppers’ promise

Hoppers' coach Jason Akermanis.
Hoppers' coach Jason Akermanis.

NORTH Albury recorded its biggest win in Jason Akermanis’ coaching tenure at the club when it belted Wodonga Raiders by 123 points at Birallee Park on Saturday.

The Hoppers mounted attack after attack on the defenceless and undermanned Raiders, who just did not have the manpower to stop the damage.

Both sides sat on three wins before the game, but, by the siren ended the rout, the teams were miles apart.

Akermanis was a happy man after the big win and the gusto of the theme song proved the players enjoyed the day out.

“We were off two very tough games against Albury and Lavington and that really helped us today with the drop in class,” Akermanis said.

“Although we lost both those games, we didn’t play that bad and that helped us plan for this week a bit better.

“We made a concerted effort to get the ball on to boot more and quicker, which really helped Jarrah (Maksymow) and the boys up forward.”

Akermanis indicated this would also be his last season as a playing coach, with the final two home matches his swan song.

North Albury did not have any passengers as they ran and carried the ball from almost every midfield stoppage and contested possession.

In a team of standouts, none was more entertaining or destructive as the gifted and talented skill machine in Jarrah Maksymow who put on a clinic.

Maksymow kicked 7.4 for the afternoon and had his fingerprints over at least another four goal assists in a dazzling display.

He had two other comrades up forward who also influenced the game greatly in Josh Minogue and Patrick Heenan. Both kicked four goals.

Heenan’s miracle goal from in front of the scoreboard in the second quarter was a contender for goal of the year.

Kris Holman was sensational from half back, with his left foot smack bang on the radar. He hit target after target in a clinical display.

Jordan Harrington, Jayden Beaumont and Ryan Polkinhorne continued their emergence as quality midfielders, while Adam Elias starred in his new ruck role.

Not much went right for the Raiders, with defender Brock Knights reported and sent off for 15 minutes for striking Nick Holman late in the second quarter.

Then in a post-match radio interview on O and M Live, co-coach Ben Klemke, who was the Raiders’ best, said that he would be having a shoulder operation this week and would miss the rest of the season.

“I need both shoulders reconstructed and I will be getting the first of them done on Monday, with the other to follow,” Klemke said.

Dean Limbach kicked four of the team’s six goals to take his season tally to 64, while Jack Di Mizio tried valiantly against the odds.