Nagambie will go into its bye level on points with Violet Town and on top of the league ladder after its five-goal win over Murchison-Toolamba.
It was a tight contest from the get-go as the Hoppers restricted Nagambie’s movement and forced it into playing some less than desirable football.
‘‘We didn’t expect anything less from them, we sort of went in expecting that,’’ Lakers coach Linc Sullivan said.
‘‘They made us look a bit predictable and some old habits crept back into our game play.’’
The Lakers went into quarter-time one-point behind and then 10-points behind at the long break.
‘‘After half-time we sort of got back into our game plan, had a few restructures, changed the field positioning of a few players and we managed to gradually work our way to get out on top,’’ Sullivan said.
‘‘In the end a five-goal win was a very good result for us.’’
A five-goal third quarter got the game back on their terms as the Lakers turned a 10-point deficit into a 16-point advantage.
Mark Nolan, who took over ruck duties again from the injured Alex Tattersall, was excellent in the middle for someone who’s traditionally a centre half-back.
Mick Shiels lifted to provide three goals and plenty of run through the middle while Kyle Winter-Irving was again a target upfront.
Mathew Waterson was the leading goal kicker for the Lakers with another six to add to his tally.
Nagambie finished the game strong with another four goals to seal victory in the last quarter.
‘‘We managed to actually get the game on our terms,’’ Sullivan said.
‘‘We probably weren’t playing at our very best in the first half but we managed to turn the footy over a bit to get out of what was a vulnerable position for us.’’
Nagambie escaped without any major injuries and the bye will give the Lakers an extra week to rest and repair any sore bodies before their return clash against Avenel.
‘‘It will give us a pretty timely break into what will be probably four or five weeks of tough footy for us against top sides,’’ Sullivan said.
‘‘We had six not play on the weekend, six of our starting 18, and I’m hoping at least four or five of those players will land back in that side in a couple weeks.’’
Last time the sides met in round one the Swans were lacklustre, battered by injury and finished the game without a bench.
Avenel has since won its past six games and appears to be finding its form.
‘‘We look like we’ll go into that game not at full strength but pretty close to it,’’ Sullivan said.
‘‘We expect a good fiery footy game against a side who probably started the year off not exactly how they wanted but have obviously worked themselves into some really good form.
‘‘I’m expecting them to be there come finals time and probably right through to the end.’’
Score: Nagambie 15.9 (99) d Murchison-Toolamba 10.8 (68).
Goals: M. Waterson 6; K. Winter-Irving, M. Shiels 3; H. Lowry, D. Haysom, N. Fothergill.
Best: M. Nolan, M. Shiels, B. Harrison, G. Connors, B. Connors, D. Haysom.
Nagambie was looking good at quarter-time but couldn’t keep up the pace with Murchison-Toolamba.
The Lakers kicked three goals to the Hoppers’ one in the first quarter before falling away after the break.
The Hoppers kept Nagambie to just one goal in the second quarter and then scoreless in the third and final quarters.
Murchison-Toolamba took control of the game kicking four goals in the second to get its noses out in front.
They were too strong in the second half kicking a total of eight goals to win by 64 points.
Score: Nagambie 4.2 (26) lt Murchison-Toolamba 13.12 (90).
Goals: R. Bazeley, H. Heathcote, M. Mensfeld, M. Sloan.
Best: J. Adams, T. Muir, B. Robinson, W. Ulrich, D. Lawler, J. Shepherd.