Blair bags five as Tigers claw depleted Roos
Boulder rallied for their biggest score of the season on recruit Brett Blair’s five goals in an 88-point rout of defending Goldfields Football League premiers Kalgoorlie on Sunday, 18.16 (124) to 5.6 (36), to complete round four.
It was a clinical display by the Tigers against an opposition squad without a host of regulars because of injury or COVID-19.
Boulder, who were held to 9.8 in a round-one loss to Railways before kicking 13.7 eight days later against Mines Rovers for the side’s first win, led by just 15 points at quarter-time.
But they turned up the heat with a seven-goal second term that blew the deficit out to 56 points at the main break.
The black and golds added eight second-half goals with Blair, fellow recruit Albert Dean (four goals) and Michael Wood (three) the game’s leading forwards.
Blair’s haul carried over the good form he displayed against the Diorites in round two that yielded two majors.
“Brett’s work rate yesterday (Sunday) was really high and his reward was a bag of five,” Boulder assistant coach Simon Edwards said.
“We were aware that Kalgoorlie were missing some key personnel and I think (Kyle) Hams didn’t reappear after half-time with an injury as well.
“For us, it was more about the process, playing the way (senior coach) Aaron (Sweet) has been instructing and making sure we’re doing things the right way, even when we had the game in hand.
“I’m pleased with the way we went about it and not necessarily what showed up on the scoreboard against a depleted unit.”
Edwards said the group had more to give as the recruits settled in and others returned from injuries.
“It was the first game of the season for Michael Wood and also for Corey Dempster since his ACL reconstruction,” he said.
“That’s two more key players back but it was their first look at the season as well, so we’re still balancing those nuances and tweaking a few things.
“But if we can have players like Woody and Corey come in each week and make a difference, then we’ll be pretty happy.”
Jordan Madden and Alex Stewart were among Kalgoorlie’s best, but coach Michael Worthington said it was a case of working through a challenging time for the squad.
The Roos are chasing a third successive flag in 2022 but have lost three straight since beating Kambalda in round one.
“I’m obviously disappointed we’ve lost three on the trot,” Worthington said.
“But we were well aware that we’d go in under-strength after battling all week with people testing positive (for COVID) and injuries.
“We knew we’d be up against it but certainly need to turn it around from this point and hopefully we get a better run with some availabilities and go from there.
“We’re playing the juggling game at the moment, just trying to get everyone right.”
Boulder are locked on two wins with Mines Rovers but hold second position on the ladder with a vastly superior percentage of 165.24.
Because of Saturday’s WAFL clash in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, round five of the GFL starts on Wednesday night when Mines Rovers play Railways at Digger Daws Oval.
On Thursday night, Boulder take on Kambalda, also at Digger Daws Oval.
Both league games are at 6.30pm.
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