By Colin MacGillivray
WALLAN sits atop the Riddell District Football Netball League after a 91-point win against Lancefield in round two on Saturday.
The Magpies travelled to Lancefield fresh from an 83-point home win against Romsey in round one and picked up where they left off, booting six goals to one in the opening term.
By half-time the lead had ballooned to 67 points, with Shaun Stewart sneaking forward from his customary half-back position to boot multiple goals.
Ricky Schraven, Jesse Davies and Corey Viani won plenty of the ball around the stoppages and Daniel Couwenburg was a handy inclusion with his speed and smart ball use on the wing.
Magpie forward Corey Grindlay flew for marks and booted three goals, while spearhead Matt Perri kicked four in an entertaining battle with young Lancefield defender Jayden Williams.
With defenders Brenton Cox and Cody Lynch helping to repel numerous Lancefield forward entries, a triple-figure win looked on the cards at three quarter time.
However, in an effort that pleased Lancefield coach Tom Waters, the young Tigers stood up in the final term, playing Wallan to a standstill with three goals apiece. The final score was Wallan 20.13 (133) to Lancefield 6.6 (42).
Waters praised the effort of Williams to contain Perri, as well as that of senior debutant Lachlan Giles on the wing.
Other Lancefield standouts included midfielder James Falcone, forward Jordan Kindred and Waters himself, who dominated the ruck battle against Wallan’s William Brock and Patrick Mahoney.
Waters said his team had showed plenty of fight in front of a big home crowd.
“I said before the game that early on in the first 10 minutes, everything we’ve learnt and worked on will have gone out the window, and it definitely looked like that – we were just running around like headless chooks,” he said.
“At the end of every quarter and especially at half time, we said we wanted to build and continue to attack. We still got a few goals in that last quarter and didn’t drop off, which was pleasing.
“[The message after the game was] this is where we start – this is not the finishing point. Wallan are probably the benchmark of the competition and that’s what we’ve got to get to. It’s not going to happen in one week, so we’ve got to work every night on the track and game by game to build to that level.”
The Tigers played most of the second half two men down after losing vice-captain James Wooster early with a shoulder injury and Daniel Frost with a knee.
Wallan assistant coach Matt Huy said the team was happy with the win but needed to do a better job of finishing games off.
“We’ve got pretty much a whole new midfield and we’ve added a bit of depth in our back line, which has held us in good stead in the first couple of weeks. To walk away with roughly 80-point wins in each game is good,” he said.
“Especially this week we really weren’t happy with the way we finished the game off. We would have liked to put the foot on the throat, but the boys’ legs were a bit heavy and Lancefield is a very big ground.”
Wallan will take on the Western Rams, formerly known as Rockbank, in round three.
Lancefield will travel to take on traditional rival Romsey, which impressed in a 106-point thrashing of Woodend Hesket, 27.4 (166) to 8.12 (60).
Matthew Burkett and Corey Pertzell starred for the Redbacks, combining for 10 goals, while young rebounding defender Kane Brinkhuis continued to impress.
“Romsey and Lancefield has always been a big rivalry and whether one team is going good or not, it’s a game that both clubs take very seriously,” Waters said.
“We look forward to it, and we need to get a win on the board. They’ll want to get one too, so it’s our next stepping stone.”