By Lance Jenkinson
Werribee Districts coach Chris Gilham has lauded his players for their spirited effort in a grind-it-out three-point win over Spotswood in Western Region Football League division 1 at McLean Reserve on Saturday.
The Tigers have endured their fair share of heartbreak at that away venue in recent seasons.
But this time around, they got to sing the club song in the shadow of the West Gate Freeway.
“We haven’t been able to hold on in that situation at that ground in the last couple of years,” Gilham said. “I thought our blokes showed a lot of character.”
Werribee Districts went into the half-time break staring an 11-point deficit in the face.
The Tigers put the foot on the accelerator in the third quarter, banging on five unanswered goals to lead by 23 points at three-quarter time.
In that period, Will Sullivan had a big influence in the ruck, while Nick Buykx and Rhyce Prismall were key drivers on the ball.
Last season, the Tigers were up by 15 points at three-quarter time, but Spotswood finished in a flurry to win by four points. In 2017, the Tigers led by 21 points going into the last quarter, but went down by two points. So it should come as no surprise Gilham was not counting his chickens at three-quarter time.
The Tigers were eager to avoid slipping into a defensive mindset, so they went in search of a crucial goal, one that would take the game out of reach of the Woodsmen.
A nice set shot goal from Lachlan Rainbow did just that, with the Woodsmen kicking the last three goals of the game and finishing less than a kick down.
Dillon Viojo-Rainbow, who set up the game-clinching goal with an assist to his brother, was cool as cucumber.
“He doesn’t make a bad decision and his execution is really good,” Gilham said.
Daniel Schibeci played a strong captain’s game across half-back for Werribee Districts.
“He leads from the front every week,” Gilham said. “His ball use was unbelievable. It was tricky conditions, very windy, but he did not waste a kick.”
Prismall was the other Werribee Districts leader to step up in the midfield.
“You go away from home, you play in tight games, you need your leaders to step up and he was super,” Gilham said.
Werribee Districts will go into the interleague break with a 4-1 record – equal with ladder leaders Deer Park and Altona.
Elsewhere in division 1, Hoppers Crossing went down by 20 points to Deer Park.
Point Cook was no match for Altona, going down by 123 at Saltwater Reserve.
In division 2, a fast start was the key to Wyndhamvale’s 24-point win over a never-give-in Point Cook Centrals.
Manor Lakes claimed a hard-fought 22-point win over West Footscray.
In division 3, Wyndham Suns have hit their groove under new coach Dean Cachia, winning their past two games, including Saturday’s 177-point belting of North Sunshine.
Flawless Glen Orden is still top of the ladder after an 85-point win over Braybrook, while Tarneit is just behind on percentage after making it five-from-five with a 37-point win over Albanvale.
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