The Cootamundra Blues finals campaign will continue after they defeated the Googong Hogs last Sunday. For the first time this season, the Blues controlled the game from start to finish to run out winners 12.10.82 to 3.5.23. In a fiery clash and with their 2020 campaign on the line, the Blues put in their best performance of the season so far.

With a strong breeze blowing straight down the ground, the Blues were ruthless in defence and made the most in attack when they had the breeze at their backs. With the wind in their face for the first quarter, the Blues back six were untouchable. Under a constant barrage from the opposition, the Blues defenders played physical and desperate football to hold their opponents to only a single goal for the quarter. Will Reinhold added to what has already been an outstanding season with another classy display. Luke Webb was also very active for the Blues but could face a stint on the sidelines after being reported for striking. Kicking with the wind in the second quarter, the Blues looked to make the most of their advantage. Sam Baldock was absolutely dominant in the ruck and won every hit out to give his on ballers first use of the football. Dylan McDermott made the most of the supreme service from his ruckman, playing as if he had the ball on a string. With the engine room serving up the ball on a platter, the Blues forwards went to work. Key forwards Sandy Maskell-Knight, Zac Oliver and Brenton Roberts all made sure the hard work didn’t go unrewarded, finishing with four, three and three goals respectively. Best and Fairest winner Max Tiernan also made the most of a rare appearance in the forward half of the ground, slotting a major for his trouble.

The Blues snagged all the momentum heading into the half time break when Maskell-Knight slotted a check-side snap from the boundary on the halftime siren to send the travelling supporters into hysterics. With the round one collapse fresh in their minds, the Blues were determined to make amends. And make amends they did, not allowing the opposition to kick a single goal for the quarter, while managing to kick two themselves, despite again facing the stiff breeze. With a 38-point lead on the scoreboard, and a five-goal breeze at their back, the Blues went out to make a statement in the final quarter. With every Blues player winning their matchups across the ground, the Blues managed to kick another five goals to eventually run out 59-point winners.

In a testament to how well they played defensively, after allowing the opposition their first goal in the 11th minute of the first quarter, the Blues defenders managed to keep the Hogs forwards goalless for the next 68 minutes, not cracking until 13 minutes had passed in the final quarter. The win means the Blues season will continue, facing the Woden Blues this Saturday in the preliminary final. In their previous meeting this season, Woden easily accounted for an undermanned Cootamundra outfit, finishing 36-point winners.

The Blues were well in the game at half time but a poor third quarter saw their opposition kick out to an unassailable lead. The game will be played at Gungahlin Enclosed Oval with first bounce scheduled for 2:30pm. With COVID restrictions still in full force in the ACT, crowd numbers are limited to just 100 spectators. The Blues have been given 50 available spots with preference given to player’s family and partners.

If any supporters wish to make the trip, the club asks that they please make contact with the Blues Facebook page or speak to Todd Basham or Lee Loiterton, before lunchtime Thursday, so they can give a list of names to AFL Canberra. All registered visitors will need to check-in on arrival at the gate. Goals: Maskell-Knight 4, Oliver 3, Roberts 3, M.Tiernan 1, McDermott 1 Pat Kerin’s best: Reinhold, McDermott, Oliver, Lu.Webb, M.Tiernan and Pearson. Pictured Coota playing Belconnen on September 5. The Blues claimed a 29 point win at home.