St Georges Basin 1
THE Culburra Cougars have inched their way into a seven-point lead in the Shoalhaven Football competition thanks to a 5-1 win over St Georges Basin on Saturday at St Georges Basin Sporting Complex.
Culburra coach Tony Gauci said he was “tickled pink” with the weekend’s result.
It was a big first half for Culburra, who took the score to 4-1 at the break.
Corey Ryan bagged two with one a skyrocketing left footer from 20 metres out, and Jack Miller and Lewis Bonney added to the tally.
Basin’s Locky Mellier clawed one back to give his team hope and keep them in the running.
However the second half told a different story with Basin fighting their way back in the game.
Despite letting in one home goal, Basin kept the Culburra super strikers at bay for the half to keep the score at 5-1.
Basin coach Scott Aldridge said, to his team’s credit, they competed for the full 90 minutes again in first grade.
“I reckon we have had a whole team out, 16 players each Saturday for the past month due to unavailability, injuries and players who shouldn’t play team sports as they just don’t turn up with no notice at all,” he said.
“It’s a credit to the rest of the Basin senior men’s squad for putting four teams on the pitch each week.
“I would like to thank all these guys for their gutsy effort week in and week out from the four grades.”
Aldridge credited his team for their good strong team effort in the second half.
“I asked the boys to mark up on Corey Ryan and wait until he turns on his favoured left foot then put a tackle in as he always turns to that side,” Aldridge said.
“The defence done this and kept him quite in the second half.”
Locky Mellier had the chance to get a hat-trick in the second half with another two good attempts at goal.
Braeden Mellier, Wade Garin, Chris Preece and Adam Brown all had good games for Basin.
But it was Basin’s keeper Brandon Labb who took the man of the match.
“He pulled off two reflex saves in the second half. This kid is in his second year of first grade and is an outstanding young goal keeper who never drops his head and stays focused. To me he is the best keeper in the competition by far,” Aldridge said.
Gauci said he looks forward to the return of his injured and away players over the next few weeks, including Keiran and Jayden Witt.
Although he said he was pleased with the performance from the three or four reserve grade players who have stepped up over the last few games.
“We have got six games to go and six really hard sides to play,” he said.
“To finish on top we are going to have to put in a pretty good effort. If by the last game we are still three or four in front then that will be a good result.
“But we are just going to play it week to week and give it our all every weekend.”
Gauci said the combination of Ryan and Miller up front is really starting to work.
But good performances from Dale Blundell, Aaron Mason and Lewis and Josh Bonney really gave Culburra the edge on Saturday.
Next week Culburra will face last year’s grand final rivals United, whereas Basin will play Shoalhaven Heads.