By Lance Jenkinson
Werribee has taken another hard-to-swallow close loss in the VFL.
All three of Werribee’s defeats so far this season have come by excruciating margins of 14 points or less.
A frustrated Werribee, 3-3 after six games, is desperately searching for that little bit of polish to help it win the tight games.
The script might have been flipped for Werribee in an 11-point loss to Footscray at the Whitten Oval on Saturday had it been cleaner with its ball use and steadier shots for goal at certain stages.
Werribee defender Ryan Hebron said his side did many positive things in the game, but were let down by some fundamentals.
“It’s obviously tough chasing from the start when we kick 1.5 in the first quarter,” Hebron said.
“It probably came down to disposal efficiency in the end.
“It was a pretty even match, it was winnable for either team, but they were a bit better disposing the ball.”
Werribee is so close to it all clicking, but is not there yet.
Two early wins over lower ranked sides might have masked the need for this new-look playing group to spend more time on the ground together.
Tougher opponents have exposed Werribee’s slight lack of cohesion.
The players and the coaches are working overtime to fix the little chinks in their game and Hebron believes that any day now it will all come together like clockwork.
“The chemistry is building each week,” Hebron said.
“The other side of it is footy comes down to so many factors, so you can prepare well, Choco’s [coach Mark Williams] been super helpful as coach and we’re definitely learning a lot from him, but you’re not always going to get the result.
“We’ve definitely been thereabouts in each of the games we’ve lost.
“We know we can compete with the best teams and have a crack at finals this year, so we just need to keep doing the right things … and eventually it will click.
“There is definitely a strong belief in this group, even though we haven’t got the results yet.
“We’ll just keep doing the right things and I’m sure our potential will start coming out as the season progresses.”
Max Augerinos was busy for Werribee.
Not only did the small forward kick three majors, but he produced five tackles to go with 15 disposals.
Joel Bennett and Timm House were Werribee’s other multiple goalkickers with two each.
Tom Gribble had his usual bout of leather poisoning with 35 disposals, while Michael Barlow returned from injury to collect 31 to go with seven tackles.
The shining light for Werribee was Hebron, who shut out Footscray’s seasoned campaigner Tory Dickson.
Dickson could only manage nine touches as Hebron wore him like a glove.
“We marked him as a key player for their side throughout the week,” Hebron said.
“He’s capable of dominating an AFL game and had a big week last week in the VFL.
“I put my hand up to play on him, which was a good challenge and I was happy with my game.”
Hebron, a former Sydney Swans academy member, has embraced his move to Werribee.
While he was born in Melbourne, he moved to the harbour city aged six and spent his formative years in Sydney, so the move back down south was a life changing one.
Hebron did so with a view of furthering his football career and he is certainly making a strong first impression on the VFL.
“After two years at Sydney University [in the NEAFL], I had a pretty good year there last year and made team of the year twice, I just thought the next step was to move to the VFL, where there’s a lot more AFL-aligned teams and it’s a very strong league where you’ve got more quality opposition,” Hebron said.
“The best way to grow as a player is playing on the best players.
“There’s no hiding from where you’re at when you’re playing against elite opposition and training with very good players.”
Hebron is looming on the radar of the recruiters ahead of the AFL’s mid-season draft on May 27.
A strong contested marking defender who is hard to beat in the one-on-one contests, he sure ticks a lot of boxes and his game is only getting better.
“I’ve talked to a few [AFL] clubs,” Hebron said.
“They’ve liked how I’ve progressed into a higher level of football and I’ve addressed a few areas that were probably weak points in my game.
“I’d obviously love to get that opportunity [to play in the AFL], but I’ll just focus on playing my role for Werribee each week.
“You can’t think too much about the draft because that’s just going to distract you from playing your role in the team.”
After consecutive losses, Werribee will be desperate to get back into the winners’ circle when it travels to Frankston on Sunday.