Howlong Spiders spin into box seat for finals

HOWLONG looks assured of adding to its proud finals record after overcoming Lockhart by 29 points in their cut-throat encounter at Howlong on Saturday.

The Spiders — who missed the finals last season for only the second time since 1995 — have the bye this week and only needs to defeat Culcairn and Walla in the last two rounds to clinch a finals berth.

By contrast, the Demons’ finals aspirations are hanging by a thread and they must now win all three remaining encounters against Osborne, Jindera and Holbrook to contest their first final series since 2009 — a task that looks beyond them in present form.

“It was our best four-quarter performance of the year,” Howlong coach Joel Price said.

“Defensively we were as good as we have been all season, which probably has been our Achilles heel.

“We really focused on playing tight, one-on-one football and I thought we were able to achieve that.

“The most pleasing thing is our destiny is in our own hands and we don’t have to rely on other results to play finals.

“The bye this week has come at a perfect time to freshen up and it would be a huge disappointment not to make finals from where we are.”

The Spiders asserted their authority after half-time through the efforts of Albury recruit Josh Dicketts, Beau Walker and Curtis Biggs.

The versatile Dicketts dragged down several contested marks across half-forward and also spent time in the ruck and on the ball.

His three goals, and Syd Leatham’s three, were pivotal in the low-scoring contest.