The Cootamundra Blues recorded one of their best wins in recent memory on Saturday, defeating the highly fancied ADFA Rams at Clarke Oval. Buoyed by a 5 goal to nil third term, the Blues stormed home to record a famous 10.5.65 to 8.9.57 victory.

With the scars of last year’s 163-point home loss to the Rams fresh in the minds of the Blues players, Cootamundra come out deter- mined to work hard to repay the faith of their supporters. Thankfully, the heavy rain cleared, creating perfect conditions for football.

Unfortunately for the Blues, it was ADFA who flew out of the gates, booting the opening 3 goals of the game.

Cootamundra had multiple chances to close the gap but failed to convert in front of the big sticks, registering just 4 behinds for the quarter. Riding a hot wave of form into the game, Ben Bungey got off to yet another impressive start for the home side.

Bungey was unfazed by a physically imposing Rams outfit, putting his head down and dominating the contested football while running rampant on the wing. Playing a key centre half forward role, Jacob Tiernan worked his way up and down the ground relentlessly, providing a great link target across the centre of the field.

It wasn’t until the 7th minute of the second quarter when Bungey managed to kick the Blues first goal for the day. He was quickly joined on the scoresheet by Blues coach Joe Scott.

Despite the change of momentum, ADFA steadied defensively, registering another 2 goals of their own. Returning Blues co-captain Phil Bird managed to work his way forward and kick a morale boosting goal for his side.

Bird showed no signs of rust despite missing last weekend’s win, putting in one of his trademark four quarter performances. The Blues key defenders Blake Basham and Cody Jordan both produced outstanding games down back. The high-flying pair put themselves in the thick of every ADFA attacking raid, making life extremely difficult for the opposition forwards.

Finding themselves right in the fight at half- time, the Blues players came out for the third term on fire, orchestrating one of the best sin- gle quarter performances in club history. Despite kicking into a strong breeze, the Blues played an unrelenting, ruthless style of foot- ball, going on to register 5 goals to none for the term. Blues on-ball enforcers Aaron Basham and Andy Merritt set the tone around the contest, producing countless bruising hits to bully their way through stoppages. Cheered on by a passionate home crowd, the Blues dominated their opponents across the park, completely changing the momentum of the game and building themselves a 16-point lead heading into the final break.

By the time full forward Sandy Maskell-Knight goaled 2 minutes into the fourth quarter, the home side had kicked 6 unanswered goals and victory seemed assured for the boys in navy blue. ADFA would not go away quietly however, kicking the next 3 goals to bring themselves back to within a kick of winning the game. With just 38 seconds left on the clock, it was Bungey who fittingly cleaned up the game’s final hit out, winning a crucial cen- tre clearance, and driving the ball into the

Blues forward line. Maskell-Knight showed his calmness under pressure, taking a diffi- cult contested mark deep in the forward 50. Taking up every second of his allowed time, the Blues bookend made no mistake with his set shot, kicking his third goal of the day after the final siren to seal a hard earned Blues victory.

Goals: Maskell-Knight 3, Bungey 2, Scott 1, Bird 1, Merritt 1, E.Honner 1, Pearson 1.

PK’s best: Bird, Tiernan, Bungey, B.Basham, A.Basham, Merritt.

The Blues now occupy fifth place on the lad- der on percentage points but are tied for third with Woden and ANU. The job doesn’t get any easier for the Blues with the Cootamundra side back on the road this Saturday where they will face the sixth place Ainslie Tricolours. Currently sitting 2 wins clear of the Tricolours, a win on Saturday would cre- ate some valuable breathing space for the Blues between the ladder leaders and the chasing pack. The game will be played at Alan Ray Oval with first bounce at 2pm.

Joel Pearson