Black Diamond AFL: Stretched Newcastle City show character to out-last Warners Bay

IMPRESSIVE RETURN: Cameron Keast kicked three goals for the Blues in his first hit out of the season. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

NEWCASTLE City coach Mitch Knighthas neverdoubted the talent ofhis young troops.

Now he knows that the have character to go with it.

The Blues made it consecutive Black Diamond AFL wins with a hard-fought 12.13-85 to 6.6-42 win over Warners Bay at No.1 Sportsground on Saturday, despite playing almost three quarters with only one substitute.

Centre half-forward Nick Gill (hamstring), midfielder Macaulay O’Malley (foot) and full-forward Max Quinlan (groin) succumbed to injury inside two minutes of the second quarter.

“We lost two key targets up forward and one of our starting midfielders,” Knight said. “The fact we were able to hold them outshows their character. The boys were absolutely stuffed at the end of the game. Hugh Blanchfield is a 17-year-old kid who played really well last week and had another solid game today. He got time in the midfield due to injuries and was great. He is growing in confidence week to week.Due to the recruitment ban we haven’t been able to blood the young ones as we would like. They have been thrown in the deep end a little in that respect. I was very happy with the character we were able to show to grind out the game.In saying that, we were up against a young Warners Bay side who were without a few senior guys.”

The Blues set up the win with a dominant first quarter in which they held Warners Bay scoreless.

“We have been trying to improve our starts,” Knight said. “The past two weeks have been reallypleasing.We kicked eight goals in the first quarter last week and today we kicked 5.8. We have a pretty solid backline and I was impressed with their work again today.”

Cameron Keast kicked three majors in his first game of the campaign and Pat Gilligham also bagged three.

“Having Cameron back was great,” Knight said. “He was another key target up forward and kicked a few goals which was pleasing.Pat is a class act and it is pleasing that he has run into some form.His work rate was high, presented really well through the centre of the ground and was able to kick a few goals as well.”

Youngster Corey Deverell andRobSchindler-Taylor were the Bulldogs’ best.

In the other games, Kurt Fleming kicked four majors to help steer unbeaten leaders Terrigal Avoca to a20.15-135 to8.7-55 victory over an under-manned Cardiff at Moore Oval.

At Dick Burwell Oval, Luke Price landed five majors and Billy Barton and Ben Eddy four each as Nelson Bay stormed past Killarney Vale21.16-142 to10.8-68.

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