Karratha Kats claim first blood in scratch match against Port Hedland Rovers with the season to start April 22

Alexander ScottPilbara News
Rovers' Jye Shields under pressure from the Kats.
Camera IconRovers' Jye Shields under pressure from the Kats. Credit: Alexander Scott/Pilbara News

The North Pilbara Football League is just around the corner with clubs putting the final touches on their preseason with a series of scratch matches.

The latest match on April 2 saw Karratha Kats test their fitness against Port Hedland Rovers in a competitive affair at Millers Well Oval.

Eighteen Rovers players travelled to Karratha for the preseason game to get miles in their legs before round one on April 22.

The Kats dictated the game early and dominated the first half to lead 4.2 to 0.1 at half-time.

Rovers came out firing in the third term, controlling the ball and scoring 3.2 to close the gap to just five points at the final change.

It was back and forth in the final term until Kats took back control as the Rovers ran out of steam in the dying minutes.

The Kats defeated the Rovers 5.4 to 4.4.

Kats coach Mark Mahoney, who took over the reins from Craig Baker, said he was pleased with his players performance.

“It’s just a nice trial to see where the boys are at in regard to training and get some football into their legs,” he said.

“It was the first hit out, we had a lot of new guys and a lot of young kids.”

Mahoney said the club, which enters its 50th year, was raring to go this season.

“It’s good to start the football season. Everyone just wants to start playing footy and it’s going to be a cracker,” he said.

Port Hedland Rovers coach Joe Ewan said he was pleased with his side’s efforts overall.

“It was a bit of a slow start on our behalf, it was expected, you’re always going have that when you have your first hit out,” he said.

“There’s always going to be the jitters in first quarter and that but once we established some composure and then stuck to what we’ve been working on throughout the whole preseason it went quite well.”

Ewan said the third quarter control his side showed was what they had been working on.

“That’s what we we’ve been working on this whole preseason is just maintaining control of the game — setting the tempo and forcing people to play to our our style of footy,” he said.

Ewan said the main focus from the scratch match was just getting kilometres in the players’ legs.

“You can do as much training and drills as you want but there’s there’s there’s no fitness like match fitness, there’s no learning like under pressure,” he said.

“To me it’s really important to get these scratch match scenarios involved in our preseason.

“This was our fourth so we’ve had a good preseason that retrospect.”

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