NTFL. League powerhouse Wynyard continued their dominance this season, handing the Van Diemen’s Land Smithton Saints a 69-point home defeat on Saturday.
The Saints were tested from the opening bounce and trailed by 21 points at the end of the first quarter, with Wynyard’s forward ability on show through the likes of Gregg Sharman and Michael Linnane.
With the margin extended to 52 points by the half-time break, the Saints faced mission impossible to turn around the deficit, with Wynyard’s eight-goal third term all but sealing their fifth defeat for the season.
Strong performances from the Saints’ midfield duo of Scott Bryan and Josh Smith – who have been named among the best-on-ground for the past three weeks – were not enough to tame the rampaging Cats.
Saints forward Matt Elliott booted four goals with coach Jarrod Watling snaring three, but Wynyard’s league-leading goal kicker was on song; Sharman finishing with a game-high eight goals.
It wasn’t all good news for the Cats’ key target however, reported in the first quarter for striking Smithton defender Rhys Morrison.
Watling said he didn’t see the incident, but was focused more on the week ahead in trying to motivate his side to remain consistent over the full four quarters.
“Again, we were good in patches,” he said. “It’s becoming a bit of a habit, just playing two or three quarters of football.
“All of the teams we’ve played against, except Wynyard, we’ve been in winning positions. We just haven’t been able to seal the deal.”
Watling said he wanted his side to not rely on a handful of players, expecting his senior squad to share the load around if they are able to compete against the top teams in the competition.
“We need to beat the teams above us,” he said. “Hopefully we can put in a good performance this week.”
The Saints remain hinged to fifth spot on the ladder, equal on points with Latrobe but just eight points adrift of equal third-placed Ulverstone and Penguin.
In the Reserves, Smithton’s Peter Brown kicked his side’s only goal as Wynyard won by 96 points, while the Saints’ U/19s were held goalless to go down by 102 points.