Round 15

OUYEN United struggled to kick with any potency all day until junior Bailey Pengelly embraced the stage and delivered a powerful punch to the homeside’s aspirations with two match-winning goals in the first three minutes of the final quarter.

Pengelly kicked his third goal to seal the Kangas’ 14-point victory against a very competitive South Mildura side at Sarah Oval.

Pengelly’s season has been outstanding – he’s a Rising Star nomination who has played several senior games; he’s also the on-field leader for the Kangas finals-bound under-18 side, and he should feature prominently in club and league best and fairest awards.

“It was an important win and keeps our opportunity to play finals alive – if we had lost today that would have made it (the task) hard,” Pengelly said.

“The game was very physical (but) I managed to find space (gain possession) and kick accurately.

“Dad (Nathan) always took me to Auskick and stressed the importance of good kicking technique.

“Dick” (grandfather David Blandthorn) taught me the tough stuff!

“I’m really looking forward to Merbein next week – it’s a big game for us.”

While Pengelly blitzed, other Kangas also had an impact. with Alex Morrish again a commanding force.

Also damaging were Ben Mole, Jacob Grigg, Sam Mead, Aron Morrish and, at 43 years of age, “Harry” Darren Latta showed glimpses of past Mallee League premiership form.

Mead is often unheralded, but his impact in close games in recent weeks has heartened Kanga fans.

“I like to play half forward and wing, read the play and make space,” Mead said.

“We had to respond (today) and dig deep – I thought when we needed a spark Bailey provided it.”

The Dogs were well in the hunt all day with Tyler Curtis (five goals), Kevin McDonald (three) and John Jackson standouts.

Curtis was clearly the Dogs’ best player and threatened to win the game off his own boot with some big marking and accurate goal-kicking, often from long range and difficult angles.

Dogs’ coach John Pratt said his team had competed well.

“Our work rate was there; we battled hard and I couldn’t fault our effort – we were competitive for four quarters,” Pratt said.

“Milko (Curtis) was again outstanding – he has a double tag each week but still produces; I rate him as the best forward in the competition.

“I thought Bailey Cogan, Kevin McDonald and Bailey Stone were all solid for us.

“We have the bye next week (so) it gives us a chance to get a few guys back from injury.

Football score

Netball score

Netball – Bulldogs bite late

SOUTH Mildura showed their considerable experience in big games when they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the final minutes of a thriller in A Grade netball at Sarah Oval.

With scores tied at 40 apiece at the last change, the Dogs steadied to record a six-goal win over a surging Ouyen United that had threatened all game.

Tayla Willsmore and Ash Morrish were deadly in attack and got the visitors into a two-goal lead with precious minutes remaining, but then two missed shots cost the Kangas dearly.

The Dogs got the rebounds and went swiftly and directly down court and Demi Toms made no mistake.

In the high-pressure furnace, Toms’ goal-shooting accuracy was exemplary – she missed few – and was the difference when the game’s tempo ramped up.

“All our games against Ouyen United have been close and today was no exception,” Toms said after the match.

“We all back each other up – I have confidence in my teammates that they will put the ball up for me (so) I can take advantage.”

Toms’ assessment of play was reinforced by her sister and captain Maddison at wing defence, who is a nurse and no doubt a budding director of nursing at Mildura Base Hospital.

“Ouyen United are a tough side, they were with us all game, the intensity of play never dropped,” Toms said courtside.

“We lifted that bit more – we took possession and played smart.”

Centre Rhianna Toms also offered some perspective.

“I’m the runner – I control the midcourt and try to keep composure so that passes are not rushed; we all work together and encourage each other with positive support – there’s never anything negative.”

For the Kangas, this was a game that got away, but coach Kyra Nathan said there was plenty of upside in the loss.

“The girls we brought in – Esther Manley, Tayla Willsmore and Laura Hayter were all exceptional for us today,” Nathan, who was named best with Morrish, said.

“It (the loss) was our own fault; now we need to recover, reset and look forward to Merbein next week.”

Stories & photos courtesy of Sunraysia Daily

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