Saints secure clutch bounce-back triumph

BIG GAME: Horsham Saint Jacob Cooke-Harrison, pictured in 2015, was a colossus up forward at the weekend, booting eight goals against Nhill. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER
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AN EIGHT-goal haul from versatile forward Jacob Cooke-Harrison helped Horsham Saints bounce back from a round-one loss at the weekend, as the reigning premiers trumped Nhill by 28 points at home.

With the construction of Coughlin Park’s new facility, the Saints played their home game at Horsham City Oval, and they took little time adjusting to their new surrounds, opening up a 14-point advantage at the first break.

A weight of opportunities in the second saw that lead swell to 27 at half-time, as the Tigers struggled to put anything on the scoreboard.

An even third term allowed Nhill to stay in touch at the final change, and a late charge saw the Tigers draw to as close as nine points midway through the final stanza.

But the Saints –bolstered by the return of some experienced players –were able to stem the tide, eventually running out 16.14 (110) to 12.10 (82) victors.

Cooke-Harrison’s eight majors proved important for the Saints –who improved their record to 1-1 –as Tom Pain and Nathan Byrne chimed in with two goals each.

Assistant coach Xander McRae took the reins in the absence of senior mentor Shayne Breuer, and said his side was able to execute its game-plan well.

“Nhill were going to play four quarters and they’re quite a good, quick running side and their ability to switch and take the game on is really good,” he said.

“We were just able to keep the pressure on with our midfielders which was really good.”

McRae said the added experience of Byrne, Andrew Devereaux, Hugh Gove and Kyle O’Connor really steadied the Saints.

“They definitely did. They made a huge difference,” he said.

McRae said to be able to isolate Cooke-Harrison in the front half was a massive advantage.

“We had a fairly open 50 which suits that running, quick play that Jacob can do,” he said.

Tigers coach Alan Bennett said his side missed its chances to be closer in the first half.

“I felt in the first half we had a lot of the play but couldn’t convert,” he said.

“We got within nine points halfway through the last quarter but they settled.”

Bennett said the Tigers –despite fighting the game out to the end –needed to not be satisfied with nearly beating the reigning premiers.

“I think we were better in quite a few aspects than we were last week,” he said.

“But the trap as a bottom team is to not give yourself a pat on the back for not getting blown away.

“In some ways you’ve got to say that we’ve made progress but you can’t be satisfied with getting that close.”

The Tigers were well led by Tom Wheelen and Maddy Hayes again, and had an even spread of goal-kickers.

Hayes, Grant McLeod, Mitch Borgelt, Jake Harrap and Jake Corstens each booted two goals each.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.