Injuries mar Werribee’s start

Max Spencer gets a handball away. Picture Belinda Vitacca Photography

Tara Murray

It was a tough day at the office for Werribee on Saturday in the Victorian Football League, as its finals hopes slipped further away.

Taking on one of the top sides, Casey Demons, Werribee needed some luck on its side, but were left behind the eight-ball with injuries leaving them two players down early in the first quarter.

The Demons, led by an AFL-listed midfield, started the better of the two sides and continued to build as the game went along.

Five unanswered goals in the third quarter put Casey well on top as they ran away with the win, 17.14 (116)-7.15 (57).

Werribee coach Michael Barlow said losing Nick Coughlan [head knock] and Nathan Cooper [hamstring] in the first quarter wasn’t ideal. Matt Hanson also spent time off injured in the first quarter.

“It was a tough day,” he said. “Essentially we didn’t start well. We lost two of our main stayers down back after two weeks off essentially due to the bye.

“We were digging deep and searching for answers and trying to hang in there. We had some opportunities as well, in the first quarter and that trend across the game.

“We didn’t convert and we don’t help ourselves much when we have the ball in hand. We put ourselves in tough scoring positions and put ourselves under pressure just through some fundamental errors and fumbles.”

Barlow said while he was disappointed, they did have some good moments throughout the game, especially in the third quarter.

He said the limited rotations and lack of fresh legs then hit and they were unable to run with the Demons late in the game.

“[Aaron] vandenBerg [Correct with lower cap], [Jake] Melksham, [Tom] Sparrow and Majok Daw are full time athletes with high end ability and a genuine AFL mids. The longer the game went on the more that showed. We had patched where we couldn’t go with them particularly on the outside.

“Kye Declase exposed us a bit on the wing. You know what you’re going to get with them. They’re essentially a top two side. The match was a realistic measure up where we are at, out played by a well drilled high class side.

Barlow said there were a number of players who could hold their heads high on a disappointing day.

Connor Thar and Ryan Kemp kicked two goals each for Werribee.

Tom Gribble, Joe Maishman and Louis Pinnuck had 25 disposals a piece, with skipper Michael Sodomaco named the side’s best.

Werribee now sits 10th on the ladder, two games outside the top eight, but has played two less games than some of the interstate teams.

Barlow said they know the areas that they need to work on.

“We’ll reflect on what we are doing well,” he said.

“What we can significantly improve is very fixable and that is my message to the team, It’s a lot of individual stuff and if we can improve five to 10 per cent and invest while we’re at training and look to translate to game day.”

Werribee faces Port Melbourne this week. There will be some changes with both Coughlan and Cooper to miss through injury, opening the door for other players to get their opportunities.