A seven goal final term saw Finley charge to an important 38 point victory against Cobram in round 12 of the Murray League on Saturday.
With scores level at the final break the Cats became an unstoppable force at Scott Oval, storming their way to their sixth win of the season to claim the Mustica Nissan Cup.
Finley coach Rob Daniel said it was great to finally overcome a side above them on the ladder.
‘‘It was probably our best win for the year,’’ he said.
‘‘It was a real arm wrestle up until the last quarter. We went a bit harder in the last and had the most tackles of any quarter even though we had about 80 per cent of the ball.’’
Finley began the game positively with Levi Middleton scoring the first goal with a free kick 30m out.
Paul Massingham, enjoying his stint in the forward line, was the beneficiary of some heavy tackling inside the forward 50 and slotted the Cats’ second goal with Tim McKenzie and Lachy Small dominant in the midfield early.
Mitch Ryan and brothers Nick, Will and Angus Robertson were teaming well in defence, not allowing the Cobram forwards any room to move.
When resting ruckman Lachy Hawkins clunked a strong mark and slotted through another major the Cats appeared to have the ascendancy, taking a 13 point lead into the first break.
Cobram bounced off the break with two quick goals to half forward Ben Ryan.
A ‘steadier’ from a strong mark to Massingham kept the Tigers at bay briefly.
Tyron Baden opened up the Cats’ defence with an 80m run through the centre hitting SANFL recruit Daniel Johnston on the chest 15m out from goal. The resultant shot only managed a point for a play that deserved a better reward.
The Cobram onballers were starting to gain ascendancy at the stoppages and when Mitchell Richmann was awarded an off-the-ball free in front of goal he put the home side in front for the first time.
Tim Mead scooped up a loose ball in the Cats’ forward 50 and snapped truly to return them the lead at the half time break.
Injuries were taking a toll on both sides with Cobram losing Sam Beasley and Alexander King and Finley’s Will Robertson ruled out with concussion.
The Cats sent Scott Sherwen onto Ben Ryan and Robb Jewell had the daunting task of running with Cadeyn Williams, with both Finley players having the better of their duels.
Mead made a dash into the forward 50 and kicked to the advantage of Massingham who didn’t let him down to kick off the scoring in the third.
Johnston replied for Cobram and in a low scoring arm wrestle the game was all square on 47 points each at the final break.
Few would have seen the seven goal Cat onslaught coming.
Ed Barlow, covering plenty of ground, ran forward and cleverly tapped the ball over the back of the pack into Massingham’s arms for a goal.
Barlow then converted from a tackle inside the forward 50 and the Cats were gaining momentum.
Middleton attacked the footy with ferocity and caused a spillage with Massingham pouncing for his fifth of the day.
McKenzie joined the party with two consecutive goals from the centre clearance work of Hawkins and Zec Cuppens.
Matt Wilson and Mead both brought up majors soon after on the back of some wonderful defensive running from Thomas McCarney and Angus Robertson.
A goal to Johnston (four goals) as the final siren sounded was just a consolation in the end, with the Cats claiming seventh spot on the ladder.
Final score, Finley 14.8 (92) to Cobram 7.12 (54).
The Cats will have another big clash when they play host to eighth placed Congupna on Saturday.