By Hayley Wildes
The Dandenong Stingrays extracted some revenge on the Oakleigh Chargers at Shepley Oval on Saturday afternoon.
The Rays, whose solitary loss for the season was dealt by the Chargers in Round 5, continued on their merry way to move to 8-1 on the season, strengthening their position at the top of the TAC Cup ladder.
With an array of their guns missing due to Vic Country commitments, the team’s depth shone through – as it has done all season long.
Captain Campbell Hustwaite got things underway with the first major of the day and Dandenong jumped out to a 28-12 lead at quarter-time through slick ball movement and couple of late goals in the quarter.
The second quarter was when the Rays made their move. Relentless attack and pressure around the ball saw Dandenong force turnovers and slam on five foals to one for the term.
The barrage of forward 50 entries proved too much as the Rays scored three goals in five minutes after the Chargers put through the first major of the quarter.
The likes of Matthew Cottrell, Reid Nanscawen and William Hamill were really starting to take over the match and Oakleigh had no answers for them.
A 42-point half-time lead was added to in the third term as the Rays made the most of their chances. William Geurts scored two goals for the quarter and Angus Paterson added one too.
Campbell Hustwaite and Hayden Young were sublime and continuing to drive the ball forward. Through the team’s hard work, the Rays held a massive 81-27 lead at the final break.
After accurate kicking for the first three quarters, the Rays goalkicking abandoned them in the final term as their dominance in general play only yielded them 1.8 (14), saving the Chargers from what could have been a very ugly final scoreboard.
Despite their inaccuracy in the final quarter, the damage had well and truly been done and the Stingrays ran out 55-point winners, 13.17 (95) to 6.4 (40).
Dandenong’s ability to choose the right option in attacking forays, along with their willingness to take the game on, was crucial as Oakleigh were chasing their tails all day.
With so much top end talent missing, the Rays showed why they are the team to beat with a squad that plays for one another and doesn’t rely on any one player to do more than necessary.
Dandenong’s 11 individual goalkickers for their 13 goals is a testament to this.
Matthew Cottrell was tremendous for Dandenong and he is putting together a consistent season, proving his worth at TAC Cup level. Meanwhile, Reid Nanscawen, Lachlan Stenning and William Hamill were impressive and vital when the game was there to be won.
Dandenong will face Greater Western Victoria next, kicking off from 1pm at Shepley Oval on Saturday 23 June.