By Lance Jenkinson
Werribee has started the Hockey Victoria men’s Vic League 2 finals like a house on fire.
The Tigers were at their scintillating best in 3-0 win over MHSOB in the elimination final at the State Netball and Hockey Centre on Sunday.
Three first half goals laid the platform for an eye-catching win that will put the rest of the finalists on notice.
“They started with the ball and put us under pressure for the first five minutes,” Tigers defender Ross Cowlishaw said.
“We picked it up after that and the goals were just flowing. They dropped their bundle a bit.”
Scoring three goals against MHSOB is no mean feat. Doing so in a half is a rarity.
MHSOB conceded on average just 1.27 goals per game in the regular season. Even Werribee found it nigh on impossible to break down the MHSOB defence in the regular season.
“They’re very hard to score against,” Cowlishaw said.
“The first time we played them it was nil-nil and the second time was 2-1, so in two games we’ve only been able to score one goal.
“To hit three in a half was good.”
Werribee won the tactical battle.
The Tigers build-up was patient, possessing the ball for large swathes of the game.
Their goals, coming through a double from Sam Huxtable and one to Mark Beamish, were largely scored on the back of counter attacking moves.
“We had to be patient, pass the ball around, look for the gaps and the openings,” Cowlishaw said. “We mainly got the goals from breakaways, rebound out of defence.
“Everyone stuck to our structure and we were able to control the game.”
Beamish is the unsung hero of the Werribee forward line with his score involvements so important, but not grabbing the headlines as much as the finishers.
“He does a lot of hard running and has got a good work rate,” Cowlishaw said.
“He does a lot of the lead-up work that sets up a lot of short corners and passes across the goal for people to tap in.”
Michael Gallo, Peter Nalder and Matthew Skoglund dictated play from the midfield, while Ryan Busst was a key link-up player up forward.
Werribee will face St Bede’s in the preliminary final at the State Netball and Hockey Centre on Sunday morning.