Werribee’s finals hopes took another hit as it was outclassed by Footscray in the Victorian Football League on Saturday.
Werribee led early before the Bulldogs started to control the game around the ball.
Werribee was able to stick with the Bulldogs until the last five minutes, before two late goals sealed the 12.12 (84)-9.4 (58) win for the Bulldogs.
Coach Michael Barlow said the Bulldogs were one of the best teams they had played this season.
“It was a challenge against a pretty handy team with all that AFL experience and the right type of experience,” he said.
“Stefan Martin, Jordan Sweet, Lachie Hunter, Josh Schache and Sam Darcy, who is coming through as a budding superstar.
“It’s enough to say they are well equipped.”
Werribee led by 18 points at quarter time, but the scoreboard didn’t reflect how the game had been played out.
Barlow said the Bulldogs led the inside-50s 15-7 at quarter time and they had just been able to capitalise better than the Bulldogs. Werribee struggled for most of the day to penetrate into their forward line.
“We were competitive around the stoppages,” he said.
“We defended really well and there was great work from the backs and the mids running back to support.
“But it wasn’t sustainable.”
The Bulldogs extra height started to play a role in the game and gave the Bulldogs mids first use of the ball. While Werribee had looked to add more height at selection, it was still a key factor in the game.
Barlow said they knew they were still in game at three quarter time.
“At three quarter time we were seven points down,” he said. “Our accuracy was keeping ourselves in the game.
“So often it’s the other way around and we’re keeping sides in it with poor kicking. We knew we couldn’t win with the way we were playing.
“We threw things around a bit and most things came off.”
Barlow said while they fought gallantly, Footscray was just too good in the end. He said they continued to dominate the contest which would prove vital.
He said the likes of Alex Keath and Taylor Duryea repelled many of their forward forays late.
“We couldn’t get our hands on the ball,” he said. “We hung in until the 25 minute before they kicked a couple of goals late.
“We were disappointed not to hang around for longer.”
Hudson Garoni kicked five goals for Werribee, with Barlow saying he was starting to come into some good form.
Ollie Hanrahan (27 possessions, Tom Gribble and Dom Brew (both 24 possessions) had plenty of the ball.
It was the defenders who won the praise from Barlow though
“The defensive group as a whole was really good,” he said.
“Nick Coughlan, Louis Pinnick and Lucas Rocci were all given significant roles and delivered.
The loss means Werribee has lost its last two games and sits in 11th spot, four points behind eighth.
Barlow said with finals still alive with three rounds to go, there was plenty to play for.
“We don’t need to look for a spark or anything,” he said. “Last patch of the year we need to play some good football for the opportunity to maybe play some more games.
“We’re not playing to the level we need to. We need to improve and play at our level.
“When we are up and going and for long periods of time, that’s more than enough.”
Werribee is on the road this week, playing the Brisbane Lions in Brisbane. The Lions sit third.