Arch rival demolition keeps Gympie Cats' finals hopes alive
AFL: A thunderous final quarter put an exclamation mark on what was arguably the Gympie Cats' most impressive win of the QFA Division 3 season at Ray Warren Oval on Saturday afternoon.
Facing the Hinterland Blues for the first time since suffering a heartbreaking three-point defeat at their hands in Round 3, the Cats overcame a slow start to pile on seven goals in the second quarter and six more in the last to record a convincing return to the winners circle.
MORE ON THE CATS
The 19.14 (128) to 10.6 (66) scoreline reflected the Cats' "four-quarter effort”, much to the delight of club president Jason Bromilow.
"The boys put in a fantastic effort, it was probably our best game of the season,” Bromilow said.
"We really drove it home, we put in a full four-quarter effort which is what you need to do in a league like this.
"We're not in (AFL Wide Bay) any more, we're in with the big boys, and that kind of performance is what it takes to win in this competition.
"I had a phone call from the (Blues) coach, he was very disappointed not to get the win, and (Cats co-coach Jason Kent) said he was very proud of how the boys played after the game.
"They're probably our arch rivals now, they're the closest team to us.
"We always want to win those games; we never got over that (Round 3) loss.”
Co-captain and midfield bull Jesse Lawrence was back to his mercurial best against the Blues, hitting the scoreboard with four goals on top of his dependable work rate at the coalface.
Forward Joel Perry-Warren slotted a personal best six goals while Lanze Magin, Scott Stiefler and young ruckman Ronan Neville played pivotal roles in the win.
"(Lawrence) was sensational, he led from the front all day,” Bromilow said.
"His work rate, skills and execution with the ball in hand set the standard, and he was really hitting his forward targets well.
"When he's at his best he adds a few goals himself.”
The Cats (4-8) return to Ray Warren Oval in search of their second win on the trot against the league-leading Moreton Bay Lions (11-1) this Saturday at 2pm.
Jordan Tucker and Patrick Harris were the key men last time the two sides met in Round 1, helping the Cats record a miraculous three-point win and hand the Lions their only loss of the season so far.
Gympie remains two wins off the pace for a finals spot with six games remaining in the home and away season.
"We've proven we can be up there with the best in the competition, we just need to make sure we play consistently across four quarters,” Bromilow said.
"We've lost three or four close ones we probably should have won, but it is what it is. We have to win probably four or five of our last six to try and sneak a finals spot, or finish off strong going into next year.”
Gympie Cats 19.14.128 (J. Perry-Warren 6 goals, J. Lawrence 4, B. Forbes 3) defeated Hinterland Blues 10.6.66 (B. Kristelly 4 goals).