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Northern Blues continue winning ways

Jarrod Pickett got a win on his birthday in the VFL today. (Photo: Tim Murdoch)

THE Northern Blues recorded their fourth win in five games with a hard-fought victory over Sandringham.

In the Blues’ final home game of the season, Northern battled all day to come away with a hard-fought 13.8 (86) to 7.10 (52) win over Sandringham.

In slippery and windy conditions at Preston City Oval, Northern kept the Zebras at an arms length all day and applied relentless pressure over four quarters.

After Sandringham kicked the first of the goal inside the opening 60 seconds, Northern’s response was swift.

A two-goal quarter-time buffer for the home side could have been a lot more given its early ascendancy on the contest.

However, first-year rookie Cillian McDaid ensured the Blues got full reward for effort immediately after the first break.

His well-struck shot from 50m brought up his first career goal to get the margin out to 21 points early in the second term. It prompted a reaction from his teammates, with every Blue getting around the Irishman.

Much like the first quarter, the Blues struggled to break the shackles on the scoreboard despite their territorial dominance. It meant they headed into the main break with a 21-point lead over a persistent Sandringham.

Northern’s forward line got to work to open the second half, with Levi Casboult, Jarrod Pickett and Jesse Palmer all notching up majors.

It helped Northern get out to a 28-point lead heading into the deciding final quarter, which extended to 34 points after Patrick Kerr’s second goal.

Sandringham switched the momentum in its favour in the last to get within three goals.

However, as Northern did last week against Coburg, it held its nerve late in the contest. The Blues slot through the last three goals of the day to come away 34-point victors.

It marked another tick in a positive month for the Blues, who have recorded their second straight win at Preston City Oval.

Once again, the average age for Northern was just over 22, with nine Carlton-listed players featuring.

Josh Hill and Matt Shaw were resolute in defence all day and stifled the Zebras' offensive movement, intercepting and giving the Blues some valuable drive.

Sam Fisher and Tom Wilson’s scintillating midfield form continued, notching up 26 and a game-high 32 disposals respectively.

Casboult set the tone for the Blues from the outset with his physicality, as he finished the day with two goals, six marks and 28 hit-outs.

Levi Casboult was a star performer for the Northern Blues against Sandringham. (Photo: Tim Murdoch)

The Northern Blues' final home-and-away game will be at Windy Hill against Essendon next week, with the first bounce set for 12pm on Saturday.

NORTHERN BLUES    3.3    5.7    9.8    13.8 (86)
SANDRINGHAM    1.2    2.4    5.6    7.10 (52)

Northern Blues: 
Casboult 2, Glass-McCasker 2, Kerr 2, Fisher, McDaid, Palmer, Penrith, Pickett, Schumacher, Velissaris

Northern Blues: 
Hill, Shaw, Casboult, O’Shea, Wilson, Fisher