The growth of Werribee was on show in its Victorian Football League win against the Footscray Bulldogs on Sunday.
Werribee showed it had learned lessons from earlier in the season, to capitalise on its dominance of the game.
Despite a good late patch from the Bulldogs late, Werribee managed to hold on to win, 13.13 (91)-8.9 (57).
Werribee coach Michael Barlow walked away pretty happy with the result.
“I thought we played well in the first half and everything points to the fact that we controlled the game,” he said.
“The contest and clearance side was good and we were limiting what they were good at. We were able to take away their uncontested game, which was important.”
The only thing that let Werribee down in the first half, was its goal kicking with the side kicking 4.11 for the half.
The second half, Werribee fixed that up and kicked 9.2. Barlow said they didn’t do that earlier in the season.
“Our radar in front of goals was off,” he said. “We continued to se the growth of the group.
“Three or four weeks against Geelong they made the most of the opportunities after we were inaccurate.
“To kick 9.2 in the second half and one of them right on the siren, showed the ability of the group to regroup in games is really strong.
“We need that to continue.”
The Bulldogs did make one last attack late in the game, but Werribee was able to steady to come away with the solid win.
Barlow said they spoke about that patch after the game.
“Sometimes we have to acknowledge the other side when they play well,” he said.
“They have some pretty strong good players and are a good team.
“We would have liked to have restricted that and not allow it to be as significant. It showed when we shift away from what we are doing and leave the door open for other teams, they will take it.”
Hudson Garoni kicked three goals for Werribee, while Michael Sodomaco, Sam Paea and Logan Morris kicked two goals each.
Barlow said it was a really good team performance.
“Doing the best players we could have had a dozen players to put in there,” he said.
“I’ll acknowledge the guys that have been doing it week in, week out for a while.
“Some of the more experienced guys like Dom Brew and Nick Coughlan. Coughlan came back into the side for the Williamstown game and has been in the best handful of players every game.
“Shaun Mannagh up around the ball and in the forward half was good. Tom Gribble had a good game after a week out with illness.
“The usual suspects, who I’m really lucky to have.”
Barlow also highlighted the games of Sam Clohesy and Bailey Henderson. He said both play a number of roles for them within games and are playing to a high level.
“Sam has played a number of different roles and it keeps getting it done,” he said.
“Bailey Henderson has played a multitude of roles and had great impact at both ends.
“He was one of our leading intercept players and one of the players involved most in score involvements.”
Another promising sign for Werribee was the debut of Logan Morris. Morris is part of the Western Jets squad.
Barlow said he deserved the opportunity.
“It’s really important to continue to have a connection with the Western Jets and Geelong Falcons, they’re areas that we work closely with,” he said.
“Only once before in my time a guy from the under-18 age competition has played for us.
“Once they come into the club they train and learn our systems and structures.
“For us to be going okay and getting some results and him being given a genuine opportunity on merits in our best side, is exciting.
“He did some really nice things and showed that potential. If he gets another opportunity, we’re confident he would replicate that and build on that.”
Werribee is now seventh on the ladder with four wins from its six matches.
Werribee this week face the Gold Coast Suns at home.
While Werribee has three wins on the trot, Barlow said they would get a good understanding of where they are at.
“The Gold Coast are sitting 7-0 and have 18 to 22 AFL players every week,” he said.
“We have our first six day break.
“We’re in the middle of three games at home in a row. We play Footscray, Gold Coast and then Casey.
“Two games against top four sides in the competition.”
Werribee against Gold Coast will be played at 12pm on Saturday at Avalon Airport Oval.