Bragging rights for Warriors in season opener

DOMINANT: Stawell captain Tom Eckel gets a kick away towards the goal during the first ever Good Friday match at North Park. Picture: Peter Pickering

DOMINANT: Stawell captain Tom Eckel gets a kick away towards the goal during the first ever Good Friday match at North Park. Picture: Peter Pickering

The Warriors claimed the battle of the divide football bragging rights with a 69-point against Ararat at North Park on Friday.

The Rats started with the wind in the first quarter but failed to utilise conditions, only managing one goal while Stawell kicked two of its own against the wind.

The second quarter was when the game got busted open by the Warriors with six goals to zero in the second quarter to take a 45-point lead into the long break.

Ararat managed two goals in the third quarter but was not enough to swing the momentum back in the visitor’s favour.

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In the final term, the Warriors kept scoring regularly with five goals added to finish with the 15.14.104 to 4.11.35 win.

Brent Tuckey led the way for Stawell with four goals while Gordon Laurie kicked two for Ararat.

Warriors captain Tom Eckel said it was a good start to the season.

“I am pretty happy, it is exactly what we wanted to do first up, get the win,” he said.

“We wanted to try and stop their short chipping game and running game and we were able to do that with the wind helping a bit as well.

“The wind was definitely an advantage, it was pretty hard to score against the wind.”

Both teams tried to utilise the middle of the ground during transition from the defensive half but the Warriors were able to restrict Ararat’s use.

Eckel said it was obvious as the game went on that the corridor was the best route to goal.

“Once you got out wide, you got stuck out there and it was hard to get it back into the corridor,” he said.

For Ararat, it was a disappointing start with the big loss to the arch rival.

Co-coach Terry Keilar said the team did not apply enough pressure to Stawell across the ground.

”That was disappointing, but in the clinches we were good,” he said.

“Our backs did a pretty good job, they had three talls to cover down there and we were missing a few talls of our own, so I think they held up well.

“But at the other end, our efficiency and delivery into the forward line was not as good as we wanted it to be.”

A big crowd gathered for the first Good Friday match with both teams expecting it to continue next year.

Eckel said it made sense to continue with the two teams playing in the stand-alone game.

“I think they need to keep it going, and these are the two best teams to have it with with the rivalry between Ararat and Stawell,” he said.

Keilar agreed with Eckel’s thoughts on the future of the game.

“You can see the big crowd here, I have no issue with it,” he said. Both teams will have this weekend off.

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