Same again for Werribee Districts

8/7/17 West Photography. Issue 9/7/17. Hoppers Crossing vs Werribee DistrictsWerribee No 40 Jarryn MccormackPic Marco De Luca

Who said lightning doesn’t strike twice?

Well, it did on Saturday, when Werribee Districts pipped local rivals Hoppers Crossing by three points at Hogans Road Reserve in a re-production of their first meeting in the Western Region Football League division 1 season.

“It was another nail-biter,” victorious Tigers co-captain Matt Dean said.

“It’s pretty much a replica of that game in round three.

“We had the lead for most of the game and then they came back hard at us in the last quarter.”

Werribee Districts seemed to be coasting to victory, holding a six-goal lead during the third quarter.

When Jordan Mead goaled from beyond 50 late in the fourth quarter, Hoppers Crossing had somehow found its way in front.

But the Warriors lead was short-lived and Jordan Patty kicked the sealing goal for Werribee Districts after being awarded a free kick 30 metres out from a head-high tackle by Ashlin Brown.

“He took the chance and did his part for the team when it mattered most,” Dean said.

There was still about three minutes left on the clock after the Patty goal.

Hoppers Crossing’s best forward moves were detonated on both occasions by Tigers defender Jarryn McCormack.

In one instance, McCormack took a strong contested mark, in the next, he used his fist to make a spoil.

“He dropped back into the hole and took some strong marks and that always eases the pressure, rather than having the ball on the ground,” Dean said.

Dean was not surprised by the Hoppers Crossing fight back.

He only had to draw upon the first meeting between the sides – when the Tigers almost blew a four-goal, three-quarter time lead – to realise that no lead is safe in a Wyndham derby.

“They’re a top three for a reason,” Dean said.

“We kept saying at every break that we know they’re going to keep coming at us.

“At times it was not ideal football from us, doing some silly things with the football and turning it over at the wrong time. That gave them some opportunities to get back in.”

In such a tight competition, you take wins any way you can get them.

This was particularly important for the fifth-placed Werribee Districts, as it opens up a three-game break over sixth-placed Altona, who they host at Soldiers Reserve on Saturday.

And the fact it was Hoppers – the arch-rival –at Hoppers, made the celebrations even bigger.

“Those wins are pretty sweet, especially beating a quality side like Hoppers at Hoppers, which is a tough assignment every time we go out there,” Dean said.

The star of the show for Werribee Districts was Andrew Panayi, who finished with seven goals.

Panayi moved into the top five on the division 1 goalkicking list with 29 goals.

“He was a clear best on ground for mine,” Dean said.

Mark Pozzuto was outstanding at the coal face for the Tigers, while Chris Molivas was classy on a wing.

It has been a huge month for Werribee Districts, who have won four straight games on the road.

“We battled for a long time there through the first half of the year, constantly having injuries and guys coming in and out of the team,” Dean said.

“The last few weeks, we’ve had some honest guys who have deserved their opportunity to be in the team.

“To play away the last four weeks and come away with victories has been good for us.”