By Colin MacGillivray
WHILE more than 80 points separated Wallan and Romsey after Saturday’s round one Riddell District Football Netball League clash, there was something both teams could agree on – it was great to have football back.
The Magpies controlled the match after two early Romsey goals and ran away with an 18.17 (125) to 6.6 (42) win at Greenhill Reserve.
Former Craigeburn recruit Corey Viani impressed in his first game for Wallan, adding class to a midfield that also celebrated the return of 2018 Bowen medallist Jesse Davies.
An early injury to Romsey big man Harrison Notman forced Nathan Hoy into ruck duties, and while Hoy won plenty of hitouts, it was the Magpies who dominated the clearances.
Sean Morris and Matt Perri kicked four goals each to top a list of nine Wallan goal kickers, while at the other end of the ground captain Michael Mannix broke up several Romsey forward entries with timely spoils.
For the Redbacks, Kane Brinkhuis provided rebound off the half-back line in a tireless effort and Matthew Burkett rarely wasted a touch in the midfield.
Michael Tinkler held Perri well until the final quarter, while Riley Mason and Jack Jedwab were the only Romsey players to boot multiple goals with two apiece.
Despite the 83-point win, Wallan coach Daniel Nolan said his side still had room for improvement.
“I thought the midfield really got the forwards going … and we got the result in the end, which was pleasing,” he said.
“There is still room for improvement, and we spoke about that after the game. It’s still great to get the win, and we don’t want to be too negative on a performance like that, but it would have been nice to ice the game a bit more.
“To Romsey’s credit they created a few stoppages and played a bit of slow ball, and we had to try to open the game up from that.
“I thought they were well coached in that last quarter and we couldn’t really get that game going through the middle of the ground as much as we wanted.”
Redbacks coach Paul Kennedy said his young side would take plenty of positives from the loss.
“That was actually our first hitout. We played one practice match that only five senior players played in … so we knew we were going to be a little bit underdone,” he said.
“I was really happy with the way they fought the game out from start to finish. It was four goals to two in the last quarter when it could have got a lot worse. I thought their fight was absolutely fantastic.
“We’ve got another four or five to pick from next week, so we’ll probably be a bit more experienced … and I think by round three or four we should be playing some really solid footy.”
The Magpies will travel to Lancefield Park on Saturday to take on the Tigers – who are fresh off a round-one bye – while Romsey is away to Woodend Hesket.
Wallan netballers on top
WALLAN’S netballers will take plenty of encouragement and a few lessons into Saturday’s match against Lancefield after a 40-goal win against Romsey in round one.
The Magpies set the tone with a 12-goals-to-five first quarter and ran away with a 58-18 home win at the weekend.
Coach Chris Cameron said he could not fault the effort or enthusiasm of his players after a year off.
“For us it was a really good first hit out, and we’ve got a lot of things that we implemented and we worked on some different combinations,” he said.
“Quarter by quarter we refocused and implemented different things and brought it back to playing our style of game and how we want to be playing this season.”
Chloe Coffin impressed through the midcourt after starting on the bench, while defenders Isabella Hines and Georgia Bowkett worked hard to create plenty of turnovers.
Cameron said his side would work on patience and composure before taking on Lancefield this weekend.
“Moving from the centre into attack we’ve got to play with a little bit more patience and be taking that extra one or two seconds with the ball so our shooters can pop forward for a good pass, or using our kickbacks a little bit more,” he said.
“That’s probably something I felt let us down on Saturday – we weren’t playing with patience and were being a little bit erratic, but that’s probably first-game jitters and not playing together for 12 months.”
Cameron praised the effort of Romsey, which he said was ‘in a rebuilding phase’.
The Redbacks, who were served well by goal shooter Hope Evans, will face Woodend Hesket in round two.