Tough start for Stawell Warriors

Stawell Westlift Warriors have had a tough start to their Wimmera Football League campaign with a heavy loss to league improvers Minyip-Murtoa.

Stawell travelled to Minyip Recreational Reserve with high hopes of recording their first win.

Warriors were confident of being competitive after having a good off season and recruiting key players in Todd Cleary, Chris Ford and Aidan Potter.

Warriors got off to the perfect start with forward Todd Matthews opening his 2014 goal kicking account.

That was the first and the last major for Warriors in the first term.

Minyip-Murtoa answered with a major of their own followed by a further three unanswered goals to see them with a three goal lead at quarter time.

Stawell's inaccuracy in front of goal was their undoing in the first term, seeing them down 14 points from the same amount of scoring attempts.

In the second quarter the Burras lifted to another level, kicking seven goals and extending their lead to 49 points at the main break.

Coach Brad Cassidy urged his players to keep their intensity up, tackle hard and allow for the wind.

Kicking with the wind in the third quarter Warriors responded to their coach's message, but unfortunately couldn't put any scoreboard pressure on Minyip-Murtoa.

Warriors inaccurate kicking was again a factor in the second half, a problem Minyip-Murtoa didn't have.

Minyip-Murtoa kicked a phenomenal five goals straight to Stawell's 3.4 in the third quarter.

As the Warriors came together for the last break returning player Aidan Potter took some authority instructing the boys to continue to work for some positives to take into the week off and then Ararat.

Potter, along with captain Tom Eckel, tried to fire the Stawell players up through the middle but the damage had already been done.

Minyip-Murtoa piled on an additional nine straight goals in the final term.

Stawell had eight new players on the ground and will take some time to gel and work out the game plan.

"We just need to stay confident. When you have a lot of new players it does take time for everyone to adjust," Cassidy said.

Clinton Midgely had an outstanding day, kicking nine goals for the Burras while Blake Grant also contributed with three goals.

Minyip-Murtoa moved the ball well and used Midgely to their advantage.

Kieren Delahunty, a past VFL ruckman, dominated in the middle giving his onballers and midfielders first use of the football.

For Stawell Todd Cleary and Scott Rathgeber were amongst the best players with their strength and run out of defence.

Brothers Tom and Jesse Eckel were also in the mix as was Potter for his work through the middle.

Todd Matthews was an honourable mention kicking two goals on a day where the forward line didn't fire as well as they would have liked.

Stawell were a dejected outfit walking off the ground losing 8.15.63 to 25.6.156.

"The thing is we had enough of the ball, we just didn't take our chances and on the flip side Minyip-Murtoa were awesome.

"Just looking at the results, I think the competition will be very even.

"I would say Minyip will be in the top three. They are a very good side," Cassidy said.

Warriors will take on Ararat on Sunday, April 27 at Central Park.

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