TONGALA has broken through for its first victory of the 2017 season, winning a thriller against Congupna at the Tongala Recreation Reserve.
The Blues trailed throughout the day and entered the final quarter trailing by two points but did enough to get over the line with a strong four-goal final term.
Coach Travis Edwards said it had been a tough contest and a great result for his developing squad.
‘‘After a really solid pre-season, it is fantastic that the players got reward for their effort, taking home the four points,’’ he said.
‘‘(It was) a really tough, hard fought battle between two great teams, that saw us lucky to over run Congupna at the end with our players displaying a never say die and competitive attitude.’’
The Blues entered the contest believing they could end their losing streak, but were outplayed in the first quarter and would have had their belief challenged, trailing 33-14.
But they responded in the second quarter, a five-goal term seeing the sides locked at 7.6 (48) at half-time.
The tight game continued in the second-half with just a couple of goals each in the third term, but it was Congupna who went to the final break with a slender two-point advantage.
But the young Tongala side had a sniff of their first win for the season and turned it on in the final quarter to record a tense nine-point win, 13.10 (88) to 11.13 (79).
Edwards said his message at three-quarter-time was to keep attacking and to stick to what his side does best.
‘‘We reiterated that if we played to our strengths, took risks and created explosive run, we believed our young players could deliver a winning score,’’ he said. ‘‘The players executed that plan and should be very proud of themselves.’’
He said two last quarter goals from Mark Watson was the high-pressure performance the team needed to lift Tongala over the line.
‘‘Mark Watson rose to the occasion in the last quarter and kicked two match-winning goals, much to the delight of our vocal supporters in the ‘Tin Shed’,’’ Edwards said.
Samuel Colvin was the star up forward for Tongala, his four goals crucial in getting the Blues over the line.
Corey Nexhip continued to impose himself in his second week back in the Tongala team after missing two weeks of action, kicking two goals and being named among the best players.
Jack Monigatti and Bailey Waasdorp were named as two of the Blues best players, and both got on the scoreboard with a goal to help get their side across the line.
Waasdorp, who is in the Bendigo Pioneers TAC Cup squad, drew plenty of praise from his coach.
‘‘Bailey was sensational and after five solid performances at senior football level, surely he has the attention of Bendigo Pioneers selectors,’’ Edwards said.
For Congupna, Tyson McKenzie bagged five goals to lead the way and James Boyer added three, those two between them kicking eight of Congupna’s 11 goals.
Edwards said he hoped winning before the interleague bye would renew the confidence of the team.
‘‘We go into the bye week with proof that we now know how to win,’’ he said.
‘‘We have a lot of improvement ahead of us and with a solid two weeks of preparation planned, we’ll launch into round six full of confidence.’’