Werribee Districts withstood a Wyndhamvale physical barrage before skipping away for a huge 85-point win in the season-opening Western Region Football League division 1 derby at Soldiers Reserve on Saturday.
Tigers co-captain Matt Dean was at the coal face and felt the heat applied by the Falcons never subsided, but that his side was more than up for the challenge.
“We know they’re a physical team and that was going to show up in round one,” he said.
“Everyone wants to win in round one and for it to be done in that fashion was pleasing.”
Werribee Districts hardly put a foot wrong in Chris Gilham’s first game in charge as coach.
The foundation for the 15.20 (110)-3.7 (25) victory was a watertight team defence. Falcons players took possession under immense pressure. The Falcons kicked just three goals from 10 scoring shots.
“The team defence mentality helped in keeping them to three goals,” Dean said. “The back six did really well, but it helps when everyone else is putting pressure on up the field.”
If there was a negative for Werribee Districts, it was that the winning margin should have been greater. The Tigers were terribly inaccurate in front of goal, turning 15 of 35 scoring shots into goals.
“We started well – it was 6.2 at quarter-time – so we kicked straight early,” Dean said. “In the second half, we seemed to be kicking a lot of behinds and missed some very gettable shots.
“We mentioned that after the game that against better teams we’ve got to take those opportunities.
“It seems to be the way with us – we’re kind of wasteful in front of goals, so it’s something we have to get on top of early this year.”
Andrew Panayi was at his best for Werribee Districts, kicking five goals and seeing plenty of the ball further up the ground. He has established himself as one of the premier small forwards in the competition.
Jordan Patty was also dangerous up forward with three goals, while Chris Molivas and Rhyce Prismall jagged two each.
Prismall was the best on ground for the Tigers, having the ball on a string in the midfield.
Jacob Graham was outstanding in defence, both in tight-checking and inflicting damage with his rebound out of 50.
Dean enjoyed Werribee Districts’ first-up win, but he knows there are bigger fish to fry in coming weeks.
“We’ve got a tough run ahead with St Albans, Hoppers and Altona in the next three games, so this is just a stepping stone,” he said.
Meanwhile, Werribee Centrals went down by 12 points to Anakie in its Geelong and District Football League season opener at Anakie Reserve on Saturday.
The Centurions would be disappointed with the conversion rate – just 10 goals from 27 scoring shots – that brought about their undoing.
Phil Jones was on target for the Centurions with four goals, while Josh Sloan kicked three.
Brad Carlton was named best for the Centurions.