Wynyard comes through Two Blues test

WYNYARD'S air of invincibility was put to the test when the NTFL's Easter round finished at Penguin.

Former St Kilda star Stephen Milne playing for Penguin yesterday against Wynyard.

Former St Kilda star Stephen Milne playing for Penguin yesterday against Wynyard.

The Cats went into the game unbeaten, with an average winning margin of 187 points, and many expected another one-sided result yesterday.

But Penguin had something to say, stretching the Cats for most of the afternoon, and when Jack Templeton kicked the home team to within six points approaching time on in the final term, an upset was in the offering.

The Cats were   able to steady with a goal from Matthew Bowen and then two in a row from Nick Hall.

It was a big Easter promotion for Penguin, which had signed former St Kilda champion forward Stephen Milne for a one-off appearance.

An enthusiastic home crowd supported Milne, who was unlucky to finish with just 1.4 with a couple of his shots at goal going agonisingly close.

The crowd was estimated at 1500, justifying Penguin's decision to bring Milne to Tasmania.

In the end Wynyard's steadiness under pressure was what counted in the 25-point win, which gives the team a two-win break at the top of the ladder.

Wynyard had to cover for injured pair Sam Douglas and Gregg Sharman   and   was able to dip into its vast resources to reshuffle the line-up.

Veteran Craig Stretton took over in the ruck and Nick Pearce stepped up on the forward line to cover for Sharman, then when Pearce was forced off in the third term with a shoulder problem it  was Cameron Betts's turn to move into the forward line.

Around the ground the Cats had winners in Rhys Phillips, Nick Hall, Bryce Haneveer and Nigel Coulson, but the perseverance of Penguin shouldn't go unnoticed.

The team is vastly improved under the coaching of Peter Templeton, and James King, Brock Dicker, Jacob Brown and Randall Hardy continued their run of form.

The Two Blues produced former Tasmanian Devils rover Matthew Smith for his first game since 2012.

Smith showed he had lost none  of his skills, kicking three goals in the first half to keep the Two Blues in contention, and if he can remain fit he will prove a valuable addition to the team.

After the final siren yesterday, an on-field presentation was made to Penguin captain Brock Dicker, who celebrated his 200th game.

Penguin will take plenty out of yesterday's contest and in a short turnaround will face Ulverstone in their traditional Anzac Day clash on Friday.

Wynyard faces its second major test next Saturday when it plays reigning premier Latrobe.



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