Masterclass lifts Footscray

Footscray's Dean Russ. Picture Shawn Smits.Dean Russ. Picture Shawn Smits.

By Lance Jenkinson

Dean Russ continues to set the standard for Footscray in the Victorian Premier Cricket.

The 33-year-old played a match-winning role in the Bulldogs grind-it-out 18-run victory over Casey-South Melbourne in a one-day game at Merv Hughes Oval on Saturday.

Russ not only starred with the bat, which is the expectation, but dominated with the ball, taking advantage of extra overs given to him after Tallan Wright went down with an ankle injury.

Bulldogs captain Dylan Kight has just about ran out of superlatives to describe Russ, who he believes, along with teammate Travis Dean, could have been handy for a Big Bash League team like the winless Melbourne Renegades this summer, only to be overlooked again.

“It’s the same old that we’ve come to expect from Dean [Russ],” Kight said.

“He does what he always does. “

They [the Renegades] could do a lot worse than have someone like Russy or Trav in their team, that’s for sure.”

Footscray compiled 7-171 on the back of the Russ and Dean show.

Dean was the first to put his foot on the pedal, making 38 off 58 balls, including four fours and a six.

Once Dean went out, Russ took it upon himself to pick up the run rate.

Russ carved out exactly a run-a-ball 67 to take the Bulldogs to a competitive score.

“He’s made white ball batting look pretty easy the last few years,” Kight said.

“He’s got his own formulas worked out and he just knows how to go about his innings.

“A good example for youngsters like Matty Underwood and Dylan Brasher, who get to watch him every week.”

Underwood (11), Kight (13), Hamish Winter-Irving (11) and Wright (14 not out) scrounged enough runs to ensure Footscray built a competitive total.

Casey-South Melbourne started promisingly, reaching 45 for the loss of their first wicket.

The Swans appeared on track for victory at 3-101, but crumbled to be all out for 153.

Russ was instrumental in the Swans downfall, snaring 4-24 off 4.5 overs.

“He just builds up pressure,” Kight said.

“He gets through his overs nice and quick and he knows how to lock up every single batsman.

“He’s got a plan and just sticks to it, keeps it simple.”

Young Footscray quick Jonah Koch was the other thorn in the side of Casey-South Melbourne batsmen. Koch finished with 3-25 off six overs.

“He’s had a really good season,” Kight said.

“He’s lit it up every time he’s played. “He forced selection and hasn’t looked back.”

Footscray has moved up to fifth on the ladder ahead of a tasty one-day clash with top-of-the-ladder Melbourne University at University Main Oval on Saturday.