Boulder hold off gallant Roos for first GFL victory in tough conditions

Neale HarveyKalgoorlie Miner
Kalgoorlie’s Max Sutch-Taylor and Boulder’s Brett Blair during their round-two Goldfields Football League match at Sir Richard Moore Oval on Saturday.
Camera IconKalgoorlie’s Max Sutch-Taylor and Boulder’s Brett Blair during their round-two Goldfields Football League match at Sir Richard Moore Oval on Saturday. Credit: Carwyn Monck/Kalgoorlie Miner

Brett Blair’s emergence as Boulder’s main target in a new-look forward line was rewarded with three goals in tough conditions against Kalgoorlie on Saturday that led the Goldfields Football League’s defending premiers to a 25-point win, 7.10 (52) to 4.3 (27).

As a reliable foil last year with 11 goals alongside now-departed Tom Gillett (82 goals), Jake Nuich (41) and Jack Martin (32), Blair is now the focal point and has kicked six goals in the opening two matches while Nuich is used around the ground.

Boulder’s Jake Nuich.
Camera IconBoulder’s Jake Nuich. Credit: Carwyn Monck/Kalgoorlie Miner

Martin joined Kalgoorlie in the off-season and on Saturday kicked one goal.

But it was a generally tough hit-out for Martin against his former club who dictated terms after half-time.

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An arm-wrestle in the wet and slippery conditions ensued early, with the scores level at quarter-time and a lead of just four points in Boulder’s favour at half-time.

Boulder outscored the Roos, four goals to one, in the second half as Blair finished with 3.4.

The Tigers have a round three bye this Saturday before taking on Railways in a 2023 grand final replay on April 27.

“We were really pleased to get off the mark,” Boulder coach Simon Edwards said.

“The conditions weren’t conducive for great footy, at least until the second half when things dried out a little bit (and) we’re still trying to find our identity as a side, with all the new faces we have.

“We’ve got a fair bit of work to do in that area, but we got the ball on the outside more in the second half that opened things up nicely for our forwards.

“It gave Blairy and our other forwards some good looks.

“His (Blair’s) form to start the season has been really good — he’s attacking the footy, is good in the air and when it hits the deck, he’s effective there as well.”

Edwards had no significant injuries, but the same could not be said in Kalgoorlie’s camp, with Dylan Clarke sidelined before half-time with a hamstring strain.

Kalgoorlie’s Jayden Bartels and Boulder’s Jake George.
Camera IconKalgoorlie’s Jayden Bartels and Boulder’s Jake George. Credit: Carwyn Monck/Kalgoorlie Miner

His loss compounded a pre-game injury list that included Mitchel medallist Jordan Madden, Regan Morris and Corbin Chambers.

“The main focus for us was to give it a four-quarter effort and I thought we did that,” Kalgoorlie coach Justin Tarasinski said.

“We went in knowing it was going to be tough and that (Clarke’s injury) really stretched us — not only in terms of rotations but also as one of our prime movers.

“Dylan’s got a history of hamstring injuries, but he’s a professional and is here at the club (on Sunday morning) doing his recovery.

“It doesn’t look like it’s a severe one, but he’s certainly going to miss games of footy and he won’t be playing this weekend (against Mines Rovers).”

Kalgoorlie have opened the season with back-to-back defeats.

But with a major focus on blooding an impressive group of emerging youngsters, Tarasinski urged supporters to be patient.

“That’s where the future of the club is and you don’t have to win premierships every year because that’s not what success is built on — it’s investing in your kids,” he said.

“What we’re doing this year and what we did last year won’t be an immediate effect.

“But in three or four years’ time when you’ve got a bunch of 21 and 22-year-olds with 50-odd games up their sleeve, that’s when the club will see the benefits.

“On Saturday, we had young Connor Lally, as a 16-year-old, running on the ball and be one of our best players.

Boulder’s Daniel Howard and Kalgoorlie’s Brady Hicks.
Camera IconBoulder’s Daniel Howard and Kalgoorlie’s Brady Hicks. Credit: Carwyn Monck/Kalgoorlie Miner

“The exposure and experience he gets from running around in a midfield against these bigger bodies is invaluable for him and we blooded a couple of other debutants, Brady Hicks and Tish Clark.

“I’m going to keep giving these younger players opportunities and experience.

“That’s where our improvement will come from.”

Kalgoorlie chase their first win this Saturday against an unbeaten Mines Rovers at Sir Richard Moore Sports Centre.

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