If there were any lingering doubts about Kalgoorlie’s mental fortitude, they were promptly dispelled when the Roos romped to a resounding 65-point win against Mines Rovers at Digger Daws Oval on Saturday.
Urged to respond after being thoroughly outworked and outclassed against Boulder in round 18 of the Goldfields Football League, Colin Rule’s men were at their imperious best during the 14.16 (100) to 5.5 (35) round-19 victory.
The win, Kalgoorlie’s first since beating Mines Rovers on July 20, doused growing concerns about the ladder-leaders’ waning form — a topic that was dissected at length during training.
“I think we were ahead of ourselves (before Saturday) and the boys spoke about that pretty honestly last week,” coach Rule said.
“They weren’t doing the things they were earlier in the year, they were kind of thinking it was just going to happen.
“It was more about knuckling down, making sure they run both ways, taking care with the ball and how they were delivering the ball — that was a big turnaround.
I know how good our side is, but we just need to do that week-in, week-out.
While the injury-plagued Diorites’ have been inconsistent this season, Mines Rovers entered the fixture on the back of two convincing wins against Boulder and Railways.
It was therefore surprising to see Kalgoorlie dominate in the manner they did, notching a 25-point lead at quarter time with the aid of a stiff breeze.
The margin blew out a little further at every break, as lively half-forward Rheece Bartel (four goals) caused headaches in his best performance for the year.
Cam Symonds, Louis Davies and Mitch Sheppard also bobbed up with two goals each, forming the crux of a particularly potent Kangas forward line.
“That spread of goal kickers is where we wanted to get back to,” Rule said.
“We don’t just want the team to bomb it long to Cam Symonds. We need to have other guys that can be damaging if they’re not given the respect they’re due.”
Mines Rovers had few answers for Kalgoorlie’s rapid ball movement, which exposed holes in the Diorites’ defence.
“They got out the back of us a fair bit, which is disappointing,” player-coach Dion Fleay said.
“They linked up really well through the wings and were able to find a lot more space than us. We were just way too slow in transition and probably a little unaccountable through transition.
“They’ve got some quality forwards and when they’re getting service from uncontested possessions, it’s much easier for them.”
The result consigned the Diorites to fourth on the ladder, ahead of the bye next week.
Mines Rovers will use the extra time to nurse several niggling injuries, and scout their semifinal opponent — the loser of Kambalda’s clash with Boulder at Kambalda Oval.
“We’ve got a couple of sore boys at the moment so the bye has probably come at a good time,” Fleay said.
“We’ll get down and have a look at the game next week and get a bit of intel, and wait and see who the opposition is. Both of those opponents are in pretty good form and are going to be challenging.”