Rhett Gibbs goes long for Walla. PICTURE: Kylie Esler.CULCAIRN entered the top six for the first time since round 2 with a gritty 31-point win against fellow finals contender Walla at Walla on Saturday.
The Lions replaced their opponents in the upper echelon by kicking the only three goals of the first half with star recruits Andrew Robinson and Jarrah Maksymow dominating in the wet.
Robinson showed no signs of the groin problems which have plagued his season by picking up possessions at will, while Maksymow took on the Hoppers with his blistering pace at every opportunity.
Luke Taylor was easily the most productive forward on the ground with four majors, while Graham Fruean kept Hopper sharpshooter Relton Roberts goalless.
Walla has struggled to score since boom recruit Troy Taylor left the club in May with much of the good work from Harry Trezise, Scott Brunnenmeyer and Tim Webb going unrewarded.
Culcairn coach Chris Willis said it was important to make a good start.
“It seemed like we had eight to 10 millimetres of rain in the first quarter so it was good to kick a couple of early ones and put the pressure on,” Willis said.
“We are starting to gain some momentum which is pleasing after the start to the season we had.
“Andrew Robinson has been coming off during each game, but he really set himself for a big one and played a blinder for us.
“There were a lot of positives come out of it.”
Osborne was forced to fight back from the brink to defeat Rand-Walbundrie by 17 points.
Trailing by four points at the final change, the Cats finished with four goals to one with Andrew White, Luke Heyme and Anthony Armstrong proving matchwinners.
Trent Perczyk chipped in with four goals in a low-scoring contest.
Rand-Walbundrie was best served by Daniel Mannagh, Gerard Telford, Ben Terlich and Mark Wilde.
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