Halloran, McDowell keys to Werribee Districts success

Two key acquisitions have Werribee Districts better placed to challenge at the pointy end of the Western Region Football League division 1.

The Tigers’ team balance was slightly out of whack last season, which is why the pick-ups of key defender Joey Halloran and speedy onballer Lachlan McDowell were so important.

Halloran, a premiership star for Altona in 2012, missed all of last season to focus on his job as a police officer.

He caught the footy bug again this year and wanted to play closer to home with the Tigers.

The significance of Halloran’s signing was twofold.

Not only did the Tigers get a proven defender, but it freed up co-captain Brent Morrow to play more as a target man across centre half-forward.

The Tigers already have a lethal attacking trio in Andrew Panayi, the competition’s leading goalkicker (27), Chris Molivas and Ryan Harrington, but they are predominantly lead-up forwards, not aerial specialists.

“When all three of are working together, we feel we can kick a winning score,” Tigers co-captain Matt Dean told Star Weekly.

“If they’re not up and about, we’re going to struggle.”

McDowell has been a revelation to all outside Werribee Districts.

The home-grown product returned after a stint with St Joseph’s in the Geelong Football League and has been named the Tigers’ best player in four out of seven games.

McDowell has added much-needed speed to the midfield.

“He’s a nuggety onballer, but he’s extremely quick; he really has a burst of speed,” Dean said.

“We knew he was going to bring a fair bit of muscle and pace to our midfield and he’s been amazing for the first half of the year.”

After their win over local rivals Hoppers Crossing last round, it seems the fourth-placed Tigers are ready to launch into the second half of the season, starting with Saturday’s trip to premiership contender Spotswood.

“We’ve been trying to build towards this since the start of the year,” Dean said.

“Dropping a couple of close ones – two by four points and one by three goals – we never really felt like we’ve been out of any games or completely outplayed, but unfortunately those three games we left behind and we put ourselves a bit under the pump in regards to trying to make finals.

“We’ve got Spotty next. We lost three games to them by 40 or more points last season, so they obviously had our measure. We’d like to try to get a couple back this year.”