Diggers earn breathing space: Photos

The Merimbula Diggers have moved into outright second on the SCAFL table, following a 149-point thrashing of local rivals Eden at the Merimbula RSL Club on Saturday.

A strong start saw the hosts hold the Whalers scoreless in the opening quarter, with Eden coming to life briefly in the second term to boot their only two majors of the contest.

Merimbula put the foot down again after the main break however, outscoring their opposition 99-3 in a dominant second half showing to run out 165-16 winners.

Club president Chris Hawkins said he was impressed with his side’s showing on an important day for the club, as they honoured player Paul Menke’s parents, Mary and Gerry, who were tragically killed in the MH17 plane crash.

“It was a good four-quarter effort; we were perhaps a bit complacent in the second quarter, but the second half effort was great,” he said.

“Eden has been struggling a bit, but to their credit, they keep turning up and putting a team on the park.”

Dan Edwards and Luke Bland led the way for Merimbula, each booting six goals in the rout.

Bermagui’s loss to the undefeated Pambula Panthers on the same day has opened up a bit of breathing space for the Diggers, who now move four points clear of the Breakers and into outright second.

Hawkins said this places the club well and truly on track to achieving its pre-season goal.

“We want to get that top two finish,” he said.

“That’s what we aimed for at the start of the year, and we’re now a win clear of third with two games left, so we’ve just got to consolidate it.”

The Diggers travel to Tathra for a tussle with the fourth-placed Sea Eagles on Saturday, and will round out the season by travelling to Bermagui in the final round after a bye in a fortnight’s time.

“General footy skills are the main thing we’ll be looking to improve on,” Hawkins said.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into it and I’d like to think we’re peaking at the right end of the season.”

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