By Lance Jenkinson
There was a sense of urgency for Werribee to get back on track after two consecutive losses in the Victorian Football League.
It was no thing of beauty, but Werribee did what it had to do on a tough road trip to Frankston and returned home with all four points under lock and key.
Werribee emerged from a physical encounter with a 29-point win at Skybus Stadium on Sunday, fighting back from a 17-point deficit at quarter-time.
First-year Werribee player Tom Boyd did not shy away from the importance of victory.
“It was definitely a must-win game,” he said. “We’ve been pretty disappointed with the last two weeks.
“We thought we were a bit chance to win both of the games, but to bounce back this week was huge.”
Werribee failed to kick a goal in the opening quarter, while at the other end Frankston wasted a number of chances, finishing with 2.7 for the term.
Having the benefit of the wind advantage in the second quarter, Werribee not only chased down the margin, but got in front on the scoreboard to lead by seven points at half-time.
“The conditions played a huge factor,” Boyd said.
“Our backs were awesome [in the first quarter] to restrict them to having shots at goal from hard spots on the ground and it stopped them from kicking away.
“We noticed a few things we were down on, particularly contested possessions.
“We addressed those things [at quarter-time] and it helped us get back into the game.”
Werribee executed to perfection in the second half.
The boys in black and gold limited the damage into the breeze in the third quarter before turning a three-point three-quarter time deficit into a runaway win with a 4.8 to zip blitz in the final quarter.
“It took us a while to break them,” Boyd said. “It was about 10 minutes into the last quarter that we started kicking away.
“It’s a credit to the boys that we were able to stick at it and finally turn the tide.”
Boyd was full of praise for Werribee’s onball unit.
He felt they were the ones who upped the ante for his side when their backs were against the wall and rest of the team followed their lead.
“We upped that pressure around the ball,” he said.
“The onballers were instrumental with that.”
Werribee’s inside midfielders accumulated huge numbers on the stats sheet.
Tom Gribble was enormous with 33 disposals, five tackles and two goals, Matt Hanson had 31 disposals and nine tackles, Michael Barlow had 27 disposals and 10 tackles and Dom Brew had 18 disposals and seven tackles.
Another key to Werribee’s victory was promising forward Jake Riccardi with three goals.
Riccardi missed out on selection in the AFL’s mid-season draft on Monday night, but he will be in the sights of the recruiters in the second half of the VFL season if his strong form continues.
Riccardi also added 14 disposals, six marks and three tackles.
“He’s great on the lead, he’s just got really sticky hands and he’s a good set shot on goal, so he doesn’t miss often,” Boyd said.
It was a big day for Boyd too as he slotted his first VFL goal. A Murray Bushrangers product, the athletic half forward has played three games and is beginning to adjust to the tempo of VFL footy.
“I found it a bit different to a lot of other footy I’ve played,” Boyd said.
“The standard is a lot higher, but I think I’m slowly getting used to it.
“Hopefully I can keep putting my hand up each week and just keep getting better.”
Werribee, sixth on the ladder with a 4-3 record, will host Casey Demons (2-5) at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday at 2pm.
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