‘Could we do it on a cold, rainy night in Stoke?’ was the challenge laid down by Newcastle City coach Tim Cotter this week.
The Blues playing group responded with a 30-point victory over Warners Bay at Feighan Park on Saturday, claiming their second top-four scalp in as many weeks.
“Our pre-match theme was ‘could we do it on a cold, rainy night in Stoke?” Cotter said. “Meaning, could we maintain our form after playing in front of a big home crowd at No.1 against Cardiff last week and bring that same energy and intensity to a cold and windy, winter game at Warners Bay.”
The 7.15 (57) to 3.9 (27) result against the Bulldogs comes a week after the Blues accounted for the previously unbeaten Cardiff as part of a club charity event.
City gradually increased their lead throughout the round-13 encounter, featuring two goals to Patrick Gillingham, and were able to keep Warners Bay without a major in the second quarter.
Cotter was pleased with the efforts of Liam Dwyer, Harrison Selkirk and Liam Carroll but particularly defender Ethan Durbridge.
“He’s the most improved player in the comp over the past two years and was very impressive again for us on Saturday,” Cotter said.
The third-placed Blues have four matches left in the regular season, including a last-round clash with second-placed Terrigal Avoca.
“We’ll look to get our best 22 settled into the side over the next month and give the finals series our best crack,” Cotter said.
Elsewhere in Black Diamond AFL and Singleton 6.16 (52) secured a play-off position after defeating Maitland 5.5 (35), leaders Cardiff 22.14 (146) thrashed Nelson Bay 2.6 (18), Wyong Lakes 2.6 (18) lost to Killarney Vale 10.18 (78) and Lake Macquarie 3.0 (18) went down to Gosford 10.13 (73).
Terrigal Avoca had the bye.
LADDER: Cardiff (91.67%); Terrigal Avoca (90.91); Newcastle City (81.82); Warners Bay (63.64); Singleton (58.33); Killarney Vale, Gosford (50); Wyong Lakes, Nelson Bay (25); Maitland (16.67); Lake Macquarie (0).