By Mark Gullick
BERWICK remains a potential finalist after defeating Tooradin by 55 points at Tooradin Recreation Reserve.
A seven-goal final term saw Berwick finally break the shackles of the determined Tooradin.
“We butchered the ball a bit and weren’t moving it quickly enough,” Berwick coach Glenn Dale said. “We got caught too many times by trying to take blokes on, when we shouldn’t have been. We still got the points and we ran away with it. Our skills started to show in the end.”
Dale is growing more concerned about the opposition’s harsh treatment of his young players, when his players were suspended for lesser offences.
“We tend to get a bad rap at the moment,” Dale said. “A few of our young blokes really copped it. We were really disappointed about it. Our boys flew the flag. It’s funny how our blokes seem to get weeks, when clearly we’re not getting taken care of as a club. We’ve got a lot of young blokes with fathers watching from the sidelines and they’re getting very frustrated with the way their boys are being treated.”
There were several unsavoury incidents which outraged Dale; one player was kicked in the head and there were two off-the-ball incidents where players were deliberately punched.
“If it’s going to pan out like that, we’re not going to get protected, then we’ll take measures into our own hands,” Dale said. “It’s really not good enough. The umpires that do see it, aren’t doing anything about it. At the end of the day, I’ve got 10 blokes in the twos that won’t take that. If it keeps happening, then that’s who I have to play, because I’ve got responsibility to the young kids to not let them get belted.”
“I don’t think it’s just Tooradin,” he said. “They were physical and they probably did go overboard. Two of their blokes thought fighting was the best thing.”
Youngster Tim Gunn stamped himself on the contest, with a five-goal haul, while skilful utility Paul Vanschilt was prominent.
With Grant Noonan suspended, Berwick alternated ruckmen Shane Finlayson and Dale Robinson at full forward.
While they didn’t contribute any goals, the duo provided a contest in the air and fed the ball out to the crumbing forwards.
Adam Mott and Andrew Tuck supplied plenty of drive.
Nathan Waite kicked four goals and Robert Palazzolo three.
Berwick’s finals hopes hinge on Beaconsfield defeating Devon Meadows this week. “We can’t do anything about it,” Dale said. “We’ve just got to wait and see how it pans out. Devon Meadows are in good form and I can see them beating Beacy,” Dale said.Although a lapse at a crucial phase was again costly for the home side, Tooradin put together another solid effort.
Captain Beau Miller was excellent in the midfield.
Usual suspects Mark Griffiths, Michael Hobbs and Adam Galea tried hard. Matthew Davey kicked five goals, while coach Chad Liddell played hard.
PAKENHAM recaptured its form to dispose of Doveton by 50 points at Toomuc Reserve on Saturday.
The Lions shot out of the blocks in the opening term with six goals from 15 scoring shots to lead by 43 points.
The match evened up in general play in the next three quarters, with both teams hitting the scoreboard equally.
Pakenham kicked eight goals to seven during this period.
“It was pretty comprehensive,” Pakenham coach Ryan Cassidy said. “We had control for most of the day. We were probably a little inaccurate in the end and the final margin could have been more. We were hard at the contest. We did what we had to.”
Cassidy was respectful of Doveton, who inflicted a heavy loss on his team in round six.
“There haven’t been many pushovers this year – it’s just been one of those close years – and obviously there’s a bit of history, so it was pretty pleasing to come away with a good result,” he said.
Pakenham’s win can be attributed to its brilliant opening term.
“We focused on that,” Cassidy said. “We knew if Doveton got their noses up, they would have a real crack at us. We had to have a good start, because the week before was really disappointing. We turned that around.”
The win restores Pakenham’s confidence after its loss to Berwick last round.
“We know that our best is good enough to beat anyone,” he said. “(Against Berwick) we had one of those lapses, which cost us at times. We just have to get the attitude right. It has been a long year for some of our young guys. I still believe we’re right in the mix to make the grand final.”
Pakenham’s John Atwell played another great game, undertaking a lot of clever work around the ground.
Chris Smith, the improving Damien Talbot, and key defender Nathan Brown played well.
Smith and Daniel Fry kicked three goals each.
Doveton’s best player was again Vergim Faik, who is quickly developing into one of the most imposing ruckmen in the competition.
Ryan Pearson and Michael Henry were prominent, while Trent Day, Nathan Wilson and Travis Hendy were resilient.
IT took another characteristic final quarter burst for Narre Warren to defeat a spirited Hampton Park by 19 points at Kalora Park.
The Magpies scored six goals to nil to erase a 21-point deficit at three quarter time and chalk up its 11th win of the season.
“We had to show some character to get back into the game,” Narre Warren coach Matt Shinners said. “We kicked three late goals in the third quarter; we could have a sniff of winning, which was good because we were kicking against the breeze. We took the opportunity in the last quarter and played some really good footy to get level and kick away in the end.”
Hampton Park used the pronounced wind advantage in the opening term to kick five goals.
The Redbacks then held Narre Warren to just one goal in the second term, taking a 17- point lead into half-time.
They clearly outplayed Narre Warren, who were looking sluggish.
However, the Magpies were able to kick crucial goals against the wind in the third term and pile on quick goals in the final term.
The win was impressive, as the Magpies trailed by a significant margin but showed determination to fight back.
The Magpies were missing Brett Evans, Chris Potalej and Cole Harvey.
“Brett was probably just a bit sore last week,” Shinners said. “We just erred on the side of caution and gave him a week’s rest. It was a challenge to the other players to step up and cover him. To get a win without him was pleasing.”
Although the Magpies haven’t hit top form recently, Shinners believes his players are hanging out to start the finals.
“(The players) know they can’t lose second spot or drop out of the top three; it’s almost like ‘hurry up and get the home and away season out of the way,’ so we can get to the finals,” Shinners said. “The majority of the group are keen to get into the finals atmosphere and show their wares.”
Magpies defender Michael McGill and midfielders Michael Collins and Daniel Fry again provided superb leadership, as they participated in many forward thrusts.
Ruckman Luke Tehennepe and Chris Collins played well.Nick Scanlon kicked three goals, as did Aaron McIver, who was a solid contributor.
Hampton Park went into the match with a slim chance of making the finals. With a little more polish, composure and luck, the Redbacks could have won.
Sean Winsall was again Hampton Park’s best player.
Other noticeable contributors were Brennan Barwise, Danny Rout, utility Leigh Morse, midfielder Ryan Simpson and Rod Blackbourn.