Werribee rues poor start

Thomas Gribble lays a hard tackle. Picture Belinda Vitacca Photography.

Tara Murray

Werribee remains winless after a poor first quarter proved costly against Williamstown in the Victorian Football League on Saturday.

The two western suburbs arch rivals played under lights at Avalon Airport Oval, in one of Werribee’s most anticipated games of the season.

After both sides kicked early goals, the rest of the first quarter belonged to the Seagulls, who kicked the next five goals to take a 28-point lead into quarter time.

When the Seagulls kicked the first goal of the second quarter, the margin extended to 33 points.

Hudson Garoni, Matt Hanson and Bior Malual responded for Werribee as it kicked three of the next four goals to remain in touch at half time.

The third quarter was a slug fest, with just one goal scored in the long quarter.

Werribee had its chances early in the last quarter but weren’t able to make the most of them.

The Seagulls would be the first to score in the last quarter and it would be enough to get the win.

A couple of late goals came too late from Werribee, which lost 9.10 (64)–7.11 (53).

Werribee coach Michael Barlow was left frustrated by the slow start.

“Teams of Williamstown’s calibre, you can’t give [a] five goal head start,” he said.

“Obviously the scoreboard reflected that. We were competitive and worked our way back into the game and we had our moments and a few opportunities inside 50 that should have got us a bit closer.

“The energy needed to get back into the game, it was quite telling in the end.”

Barlow said for much of the game, it was a bit of war with neither side willing to give an inch with a lot of ball on the ground.

“The efforts were there,” he said. “We’re finding it a little bit challenging having those conversations after a game as you can never question the commitment or the physical aspect.

“Were we cleaner in clutch moments? Later in the game we were, but the horse had already bolted.

“It’s not like eight or nine different things… that’s quite promising for us.”

It was all single goalkickers for Werribee.

Matt Hanson had plenty of the ball for a second straight week, including 18 contested possessions.

Shaun Mannagh in his first game for the club was one of those who impressed Barlow. Mannagh had 24 disposals, with Barlow saying he worked himself into the game the longer it went on.

Nathan Cooper deep in defence was another one to stand out, along with Nick Coughlan.

The two are part of the back six, which Barlow said had led the way in the first two games.

“We’re clearly defending well.

“The back six are leading the way in allowing us to restrict opposition scores at the moment.

“Two rounds in haven’t got a win, and you play to win, but at the same time you have to restrict opposition and we’re not quite there, but we’ve played some good opposition.”

Werribee is one of six teams without a win after the first two rounds.

This week it faces Richmond at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday.

The two teams played each other in a practice match.

“They are very hard to gauge,” Barlow said.

“They might have got beaten by Casey, but by all indications with the health of the Melbourne AFL list, they are one teams to beat.”