By Russell Bennett
WEST GIPPSLAND FOOTBALL NETBALL COMPETITION
REVIEW – ROUND 16
The boys from the Goon are still looking for that elusive four-quarter performance, but, still, they’ll take what they produced on Saturday in a Spencer Street blockbuster against the reigning premiers.
The Sea Eagles opened up with the wind advantage in the first term but couldn’t make the most of it, with the opening goal of the clash coming at the 21-minute mark.
It would prove to be the only major of the term as the ball spent plenty of time inside the Goon’s forward 50.
Then, in the second, it was Dean Blake’s men who capitalised – stunningly piling on nine unanswered majors to not only snare the lead but a decisive 44-point lead by the main change.
It all started less than 20 seconds into the term as Brendan Hermann exploded from a centre clearance and powered a shot on goal home from outside 50.
Another quick clearance forward gave Tom Dovaston (four goals) a shot on goal from 25 on a slight angle, which he converted.
It was the start of a real purple patch for him as he booted all four of his goals during the second, in addition to giving one off at point-blank range to Troy McDermott.
The Goon’s long, direct, telling kicks inside 50 from forward of the centre continued to pile the pressure on the Sea Eagles throughout the term as they put the foot down with the advantage of the breeze.
Shannon Stocco (three goals), Jake Blackwood, Trent Armour, wingman Jarrod Mills-Franklin, and Sam Blackwood were all making their respective presences felt throughout the term, but the group knew what was to come – the Sea Eagles’ turn to respond with the wind in the third.
Blake delivered a pointed reminder to his men at the half that they needed to truly be switched on down back, and urged them not to watch the numbers on the scoreboard. Meanwhile his mentor Jock Holland preached about the importance of mental strength, and consistent lapse-free footy against such a quality side.
The visitors did peg the margin back in the third, but not by enough as the Goon took an 18-point lead with a quarter left to play and came away with a crucial win in the context of its season, 12.9 (81) to 8.10 (58).
Inverloch, still missing some of its most important players (names including Andy Soumilas, Josh Purcell, and Dale Lawton) was well led by the likes of Shem Hawking, Dylan Clark, and Corey Casey while Toby Mahoney slotted three majors.
Elsewhere on Saturday during Round 16 action, Garfield and Cora Lynn did what they had to do in the context of their own seasons – ticking off ‘must win’ victories over Dalyston and Korumburra-Bena respectively.
The Stars restricted the Magpies to just two goals for the day as they came out big winners 14.14 (98) to 2.7 (19); while Cora Lynn overcame a trickier test against the Giants, ultimately winning by 25 points, 10.15 (75) to 7.8 (50).
In the other games of the round, the Panthers were predictably no match for the Island – losing big at Bass, 13.12 (90) to 4.3 (27) – while the Demons overtook the Sea Eagles for top spot on the ladder after a 54-point away win over Bunyip, 16.9 (105) to 7.9 (51) with the likes of Dom Paynter and former Bunyip leader Nathan Lieshout particularly impressive for the undermanned Demons.