A DOMINANT final term and ability to spread from the contest saw Bellarine Football League claim a 37-point win against the Wimmera Football League on Saturday.
The Bellarine side held Wimmera at bay after building an 11-point lead in the second-quarter lead before running away with a 12.11 (83) to 6.10 (46) win.
The win was redemption for the away-team after it had been beaten by Wimmera in 2015.
Coach Mark Hildebrandt said he felt as those his side would remain strong in the final term based on its most recent interleague contest.
“It was two-or three goals difference at three-quarter time when we played Heathcote and District in 2016, then in the last quarter we won by 10,” he said.
“We’ve got a young, fit and hungry group of players. We knew we were getting a lot of possesion and it was going to come our way, we just didn’t know when.”
The first quarter of the match set a high standard as both teams attacked the contest hard.
The home side was first on the board before Bellarine hit back with two goals of their own and a late Wimmera goal meant the scores were locked at 2.2 (14) apiece at the first break.
Each side was able to continue to create opportunities during the second quarter but it was Bellarine who were able to capitalise.
Missed opportunities hurt the Wimmera side while Jordan Erskine was a big target up forward for the away team.
<p>Wimmera Football League chief-commissioner offers his thoughts at halftime. He's really hoping the WFL can turn it around. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WimmeraFooty?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WimmeraFooty</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/AFL_WM?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AFL_WM</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/aflvic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@aflvic</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/AFLBarwon?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AFLBarwon</a> <a href="https://t.co/lykOGCac1Q">pic.twitter.com/lykOGCac1Q</a></p>— Stuart McGuckin (@s_mcguckin) <a href="https://twitter.com/s_mcguckin/status/997713229391392770?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 19, 2018</a>
The first two goals of the third quarter allowed the Wimmera League side to close the 11-point half-time deficit to just three points while it was Bellarine’s turn to miss opportunities in front of goal.
Momentum again shifted midway through the quarter and a goal after the three-quarter time siren meant Bellarine’s lead had grown to 15 points.
After Hildebrandt had urged his team to keep going for one final quarter a quick goal made a Wimmera comeback seem very unlikely. Ryan Kemp hit back to kick a third of the day in order to reduce the margin to 14 points but it was the last shot the home side fired before Bellarine completed the victory.
Opposing ruckmen Andrew Jarvis and Warwick Stone were named best on ground for their respective teams in a sign of just how critical winning the contested ball had been.
“People see what Andrew does in the ruck but they might not notice his ground work, his hands and what he does in terms of blocking,” Hildebrandt said. “It doesn’t get him on the scoreboard but what he did around the ground was crucial.”
Stone had to shoulder much of the Wimmera’s ruck load by himself after injuries prevented Minyip-Murtoa’s Kieran Delahunty and Nhill’s Ben Jones from taking part in the game.
Wimmera coach Shayne Breuer said he had done a fantastic job.
“I think most of our guys had a good go and we probably didn’t have anyone that was super outstanding – it was his effort on the day to ruck on his own that stood out,” he said.
Breuer said Bellarine’e s ball use and spread was difficult to overcome.
“Bellarine were a terrific outfit and the side’s workrate was fantastic,” he said. “They had some really good quality players and their ball use was probably a little bit better than ours as well. Credit to our guys though because they had a dip all day – I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Hildebrandt said it was his side’s on-ball pressure which set the win up.
“Our intesntity to tackle and pressure the Wimmera side made them come undone a bit,” he said. “We went for a smaller team and just wanted to get the ball to the ground and our on ball crew was really clean with their hands.”