Leroy Jetta nailed five goals in wet and windy conditions to buoy Pinjarra past the Rockingham Rams in a clash of heavyweights on Saturday afternoon.
The former Essendon Bomber was outstanding in his first full game for the Tigers, giving them the edge they needed to secure a win in the top-three bout and take total control of second spot with a 4.15 (39) to 10.4 (64) win.
It was a part that got started early for Pinjarra, with the reigning premiers bullying their way to massive lead in the opening term.
Wild weather and a hostile Rams crowd did little to dampen the spirits of the visiting team, as they used the wind to pile on six goals in the opening term while keeping Rockingham to just two points.
Jetta was outstanding while the scoring was hot for the Tigers, and also found himself working up the ground to provide a contest.
By half time Pinjarra’s lead was stretched to 43 points, with the Rams slowly clawing back into the contest in the second half on the back of hard work from Kyle Havelberg and Andrew Walsh.
The Rams took advantage of the pouring rain in the fourth quarter, keeping Pinjarra scoreless while firing six of their own shots at goal.
But the Tigers were able to minimise the damage and lock the game down with a 25-point victory.
Jetta was awarded top best-on-ground points for his five-goal bag, with coach Troy Vidovich lauding his new forward.
“I think it’s just great for Leroy to get a game under his belt, let alone booting five to boost his confidence,” he said.
“But even outside of the goals, he worked really hard within our structures and was a real key driver for us.”
Vidovich was left ecstatic with his side’s first quarter, especially given their game was called off in the opening quarter.
“I didn’t really know what to expect coming off last week, so to see the boys come out and really assert themselves early on was fantastic,” he said.
“Rockingham’s a good team and it’s not easy to face them on their own deck, so I was really pleased with how our guys made an impact early.”
The victory moves the second-placed Pinjarra a game-and-a-half clear of Rockingham on the ladder, with the Rams clutching to third spot just a game ahead of Centrals and South Mandurah.
Pinjarra will return from the bye round with a clash against the in-form Centrals on their hands, while Rockingham will look to avoid suffering their third straight loss when they take on top-of-the-table Baldivis.