Coleambally coach Josh Hamilton had been warning his side about slow starts for a month and on Saturday one came back to bite them when The Rock-Yerong Creek became the first side in 16 weeks to lower their colours.
The defending premiers felt they owed the Blues a couple after being beaten at The Rock earlier this year and being upset at Coleambally in this fixture last season.
The 11.12 (78) to 9.6 (60) result ends Coleambally’s hopes of claiming the minor premiership and is likely to ensure the two teams meet again in a fortnight.
TRYC co-coach Andy Carey was rapt with the win but warned it won’t count for anything in finals.
“It was a good win by the boys, especially over here and they’re a good side, so it was a good effort,” TRYC co-coach Andy Carey said.
“But finals are a different game altogether so it was just another game.”
The Magpies are still a mathematical chance of claiming top spot but would need to absolutely thrash Temora next week and rely on the Blues belting East Wagga-Kooringal at Gumly.
The visitors virtually claimed the game in 38 minutes of football. They kicked the game’s first three goals and were out out to a 40-point lead when they booted four unanswered goals to start the second quarter.
“We had a bit of a focus on starting well because we knew they hadn’t been starting well lately so we thought if we got on top early we might be able to hold them off.”
That was exactly how it panned out, with Coleambally launching a third quarter comeback to get within 12 points before the Pies did enough at the finish.
Todd Hannam – who played his 200th game in the loss to Coleambally at home – enjoyed the return encounter a little more, with three goals taking his return to 16 in his last four games.
Mitch Ward also finished with three but Carey said the foundations of victory were laid at the other end through the pressure and work-rate of the Pies’ reliable backmen.
Ruckman Josh Meiselbach was also outstanding up against Coleambally’s in-form coach.
“Josh Hamilton’s a big boy and Meiselbach played really well around the ground and he just created a contest really,” Carey said.
“That’s all we really asked for him to do and he done that pretty well.”
The Blues will have three key inclusions next week with Carl, Tony and Shane Pound returning for the trip to Gumly.
Magpies’ co-coach Andrew Clarke will return for their game against Temora but Carey is likely to rest. Dale Hugo (knee) will also miss at least another week.