NORTH Albury sharpshooter Adam Prior claimed his third Doug Strang Medal with six goals in the Hoppers’ 20-point win over Wodonga Raiders on Saturday.
There were a few nervous moments, for both Prior and the Hoppers, but this year’s Ovens and Murray bolter will enter Sunday’s elimination final in winning fashion after it broke a five-game losing streak at the weekend.
North Albury assistant coach Matt McDonald, who was hampered by his nagging groin problem, said while the final margin wasn’t as big as some expected, the Hoppers would enter the finals with a solid hit-out under their belt.
The Raiders led by seven points at half-time.
“It was touch and go there for a while,” McDonald said.
“But I can’t take anything away from the Raiders.
“They had a red-hot crack.
“It’s good for us leading into a final.”
In a worry, the star North Albury midfielder stopped short of labelling himself a certain starter for this week’s final at Myrtleford.
McDonald played out the match but conceded he was under duress for most of the afternoon.
“I’ll just see how I go this week,” McDonald said.
“It was good to get back and we’ll just assess it this week.”
Kane Godde and coach Jason Akermanis are likely starters for Sunday’s knockout final against the Hawks.
One key player who is under no cloud heading into the finals is livewire Jarrah Maksymow.
The mid-season recruit was again at his electric best for the Hoppers on Saturday.
He kicked four goals.
“Jarrah was amazing,” McDonald said.
“He’s just so quick.
“I think the important thing with Jarrah is that if he doesn’t get the mark, his second effort is great once the ball hits the ground.
“He keeps his feet and he’s just so electric.
“He has really come of age and turned a corner.
“There’s a big future for him.”
Rising star nominee Jordan Harrington was also productive off a half-back flank and skipper Dan Leslie also led from the front.
Prior, who won the league’s goalkicking award with 71 for the season, held off in form Raider Dean Limbach by three goals.
Prior’s sixth goal came after the final siren
Limbach finished the year with a bag of eight.
Leslie, who has spent much of the year in defence, didn’t go to Limbach until late in the game.
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