Werribee Districts ends Deer Park’s winning run

Joey Halloran has added flexibility to the Werribee Districts line-up this season. Picture: Damjan Janevski.

Werribee Districts reached for the top shelf and dusted off a vintage performance to bring Deer Park’s 23-month unbeaten run to an abrupt halt in the Western Region Football League division 1.

Not since August 31, 2013, when they were upset by Spotswood in a semi final, have the Lions swallowed the bitter pill of defeat.

They have incredibly won two premierships and had an undefeated season since that day.

The Tigers were not even part of the WRFL the last time Deer Park was beaten, but were certainly front and centre on Saturday, lapping up a stunning 55-point win on their home turf at Soldiers Reserve.

“The boys are pretty happy at the moment,” Tigers co-captain Matt Dean told Star Weekly.

“We’ve always thought that when we play our best, we can beat anyone in the competition.”

The question has to be asked, why can’t the Tigers produce this type of form on a consistent basis?

This is not the first time this season they have troubled the all-conquering Lions.

They got to within a kick in their first meeting earlier in the year.

Instead of merely fighting for a finals berth, they should now be entrenched in double chance territory of the top three, but they sit fourth as a result of their turbulent form.

Dean is not hiding from the fact that inconsistency is a major issue for the Tigers.

Two games earlier, they trudged off despondently after a loss to Sunshine Kangaroos, who are barely alive in the finals race.

They go from one extreme to the other: giant-killers one week, shock losers the next.

Their best is good enough, but only when they stop their yo-yo form can they be considered a true premiership contender.

A month out from finals and with big clashes against St Albans, Hoppers Crossing and Spotswood still to come, now is the perfect time for the Tigers to get off the rollercoaster and find their level to see if they can push for a flag in their second season back since crossing from the VAFA competition.

“We’ve dropped a couple of games this year that we definitely shouldn’t have, which looks like is going to hurt us and we might have to play an elimination come finals time if we’re lucky enough to finish in the top five,” Dean said.

“We put it down to the mental side of the game, you turn up some weeks and everyone is switched on and you turn up other weeks and not everyone is mentally prepared to do the right things.

“Sunshine, a couple of weeks ago, was a perfect example of that.

“Today was one of those days it seemed to work out for us and everyone turned up to play.

“We just need to do what we did today each week and be consistent and hopefully come finals time it all jells together.”

The Tigers kept Deer Park to just nine scoring shots and had 29 of their own.

This was a total dismantling of the Lions not seen in years.

Shaun McGuinness, who kept dangerous Lions forward James Wong to one goal, was named the Tigers best.

“He won so many one-on-one contests, getting the punch in and rebounding and setting up for us down back,” Dean said.

“He’s no fuss, he goes about his business and seems to get the job done every week.”

Onballers Dean and Lachlan McDowell and under-sized ruckman Jameel Sargent were influential across the park for the Tigers.

Chris Molivas played a vital role at centre half-back, while Joey Halloran was moved forward to provide height to the attack.

Andrew Panayi, Ryan Harrington and Scott Miller booted three goals each for the runaway Tigers.

All eyes will be on the Tigers to see if they can maintain the rage against a desperate St Albans fighting for survival at Kings Park Reserve on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Hoppers Crossing went down in a thriller to Altona by five points, despite having five more scoring shots in a low-scoring game at Grant Reserve.

The Warriors stay second on percentage but could tumble if results go against them while they have the bye this weekend.