The Cootamundra Blues suffered their second defeat this season, going down to the Woden Blues at Rockley Oval on Saturday.
In a game played in testing conditions, the experienced Woden outfit were simply too good, running out winners by a margin of 10.9.69 to 5.3.33.
A strong breeze blew straight down the middle of the ground, resulting in 12 of the 15 goals for the match being kicked at the same end.
However, It wasn't all doom and gloom for the local boys, with club legend and current president Todd Basham pulling on the boots for a club record breaking 290th time.
With star on-baller Dylan McDermott a late out due to a groin strain, Basham happily accepted the call up and finally etched his name into the clubs history books as sole owner of the games record.
With Cootamundra losing the toss and being forced to kick into the wind in the first quarter, Woden put the pressure on early, registering four goals for the term. Despite a barrage of footy coming their way, the Blues back six, led by brothers Jacob and Max Tiernan were resilient in the face of adversity and helped hold the defensive unit together.
The brothers were well supported by Canberra based Blue Shannon Brennan, who played his best game for the club.
Brennan has enjoyed a terrific start to the season and would have to be the early favourite for most improved player. His desperation to attack and to win the loose footy was unmatched on Saturday and without his desperation, the Blues could've found themselves in a much deeper hole.
Up forward, Scotty Mazzocchi battled hard despite a back complaint and managed to kick Cootamundra's only goal for the quarter.
With the breeze at their backs in the second quarter, Cootamundra looked to reduce the 22 point deficit and fight their way back into the game.
Joe Scott and Andrew Saddler began to show their class and racked up possessions at will.
Scott's contested ball bull mentality, paired with Saddler's silky smooth ball usage were the perfect combination, allowing Cootamundra to drive the ball into attack time and time again.
Young gun Lachie Webb made the most of the repeat forward entries, kicking two classy small forward goals to take himself to the top of the Blues goal kicking tally for the season.
Veteran Luke Webb wound back the clock, dominating all over the ground. In what was a vintage performance, Webb thrived playing in the open space on the wing and was a constant threat all day.
With the wind picking up in the third quarter, Woden put Cootamundra to the sword, lifting their intensity and extending their lead to 35 points.
Despite having a first half to forget, key forward Zac Oliver lifted his game and continued to lead hard in an inspired effort to lift his teammates.
A lack on rotations through the middle of the park began to take their toll as the Blues midfield began to tire. Jacob Tiernan continued to put together an impressive four quarter performance, utilising his elite run game to great effect.
Being behind by more points than they had scored in previous three quarters of football, Cootamundra could have been forgiven for dropping their heads.
The blues leaders challenged their teammates to play aggressively and back themselves in an all out effort to try and claim a miraculous victory.
The young Blues lifted their game and despite the result, ran out the game very impressively.
Oliver was finally rewarded for his efforts with a last quarter goal but it would not be enough as Woden ran out 36 point winners.
Goals: Lachie Webb 2, Mazzocchi, Saddler and Oliver 1 each.
PK's best: Luke Webb, Shannon Brennan, Andrew Saddler, Max Tiernan, Jacob Tiernan and Joe Scott.
While the loss was disappointing and makes Cootamundra's task of making finals much tougher, the focus quickly shifted to Basham who was chaired off the ground for his efforts.
It was a momentous occasion that deserved a far more fitting result. Just a few weeks shy of his 50th birthday, Todd is the kind of person sporting clubs don't survive without.
His dedication to his beloved Blues is shown every week, and whether he's operating as an umpire, runner, water boy, bench coach or player, he always gives his heart and soul to the club and we couldn't be more proud of him.
Despite the result, Cootamundra still occupy sixth place on the ladder, just one win outside of a coveted finals spot.
With an upcoming home game against the Molonglo Juggernauts this weekend, the Blues know that to have any chance to feature in the finals they will have to be at their very best.
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