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NAB League | Bushies light up Deakin Reserve with dominant win over Northern Knights

Leading from the front: Seymour’s Nick Quigg. Photo by Aydin Payne

The Murray Bushrangers marked their return to Shepparton in fine style, dismantling Northern Knights 12.8 (80) to 2.10 (22) under lights at Deakin Reserve on Friday night.

In a win inspired by their defence, the Bushies didn’t give the Knights an inch all night long, with their incredible pressure restricting the Melbourne-based side to just two majors.

It was their third straight victory and the result sees them climb to fourth on the NAB League ladder.

Bushrangers coach Mark Brown said the performance was indicative of how he wanted his side to play.

“I just think we are starting to play some pretty consistent football,” Brown said.

“In the pre-season we were up and down and round one was obviously very disappointing, but over the past three weeks we have started to see a genuine form line appear.

Showing his speed: Mooroopna’s Coby James. Photo by Aydin Payne

“On Friday night I thought we really built our game on defence. The midfield then controlled the game around the contest and the boys just gelled very well with how they moved the ball and pressured the opposition.”

Eager to continue their hot form after a 116-point mauling of NT Thunder last week, the Murray boys were on from the first bounce, piling on four goals to one in the first term to carry a 15-point lead into quarter-time.

The second quarter turned into more of a slog, as the Knights improved their work around the contest and restricted the home side’s ability to move the ball, breaking even with one goal apiece to have the margin at 16 heading in to the main break.

But there was always the sense the dam wall was set to break as the second half began and the Bushies regained their ascendancy around the contest, capitalising up forward and kicking four unanswered goals to open up a comprehensive seven-goal lead.

Finding an option: Thomas Cappellari.

With their game running like clockwork, the domination continued into the last, where Shepparton United product Joeve Cooper nailed a checkside from the boundary to help increase the lead to 58 by the final siren.

The Bushies sported a host of winners on the night, but Brown highlighted the work of a few Goulburn Valley locals.

“Playing across half-back and through the midfield, Max Clohesy was sensational and has been our most consistent player this season. He’s good in the air, good on the ground and really sets us up with his ball use,” Brown said.

Having an impact: Mooroopna’s Coby James. Photo by Aydin Payne

“Nick Quigg was solid again. He is really competitive, gets his hands on the ball first and is super crucial for us around our contest work.

“Coby James has had a really impressive start to the season as a bottom-ager and we think he will develop into a top-class NAB League midfielder, but for the moment he is playing a role for us down back.

Calling the shots: Rumbalara’s Ashtyn Atkinson. Photo by Aydin Payne

“And Joeve Cooper was very dangerous up forward, kicking a couple of goals and showing his class with some nice touches.”

The Bushrangers will be hoping to continue their winning form as they travel to Bendigo’s Queen Elizabeth Oval for a clash with the notoriously strong Greater Western Victoria Rebels.

Flying high: Fletcher Hart goes up for a spoil.
Dominant night: Shepparton Swans product Max Clohesy was a standout for the Bushies. Photo by Aydin Payne
Finding an option: Northern Knights’ Jason McCormick. Photo by Aydin Payne
Marshalling the troops: Murray Bushrangers coach Mark Brown. Photo by Aydin Payne
Putting in the hard yards: Rumbalara’s Ashtyn Atkinson. Photo by Aydin Payne
Battling it out: Murray Bushrangers ruckman Thomas Gorman battles Northern Knights big man William Green. Photo by Aydin Payne