By Tricia Mifsud
WALLAN celebrated its first game at Greenhill Reserve for the 2022 season with a convincing win over Riddell, one of the strongest sides in the Riddell District Football Netball League, RDFNL.
After its encounter with Woodend-Hesket last week, Wallan endeavoured to start strongly on Saturday and kept Riddell goalless in the first term.
Corey Grindlay kicked Wallan’s three first quarter goals, before going on to bag three more for a team-best six-goal haul.
The second term saw the Magpies add another three goals to their total, while Riddell found its first and only goal for the half.
Wallan assistant coach Spencer Mathieson said it was the ‘ideal’ start the side had been hoping for.
“We started well to keep Riddell to one goal. We were keen to start well and it ended up being the ideal start for us, and one that we had hoped to achieve after the way our first half went against Woodend last week,” he said.
Wallan continued its strong play in the second half, kicking four and five goals in the third and fourth terms respectively, running away with a 15.11 (101) to 7.6 (48) win.
Adding to Grindlay’s performance up forward, Matthew Perri, three goals, and Sean Morris, three, starred in front of goal, with a further three individual goal scorers.
“We have an even spread our goal scorers, but [we are] giving the forwards some great opportunities through the work in the middle,” Mathieson said.
He said the Magpies displayed a team performance, but mentioned the efforts of the backline, which restricted Riddell’s scoring opportunities.
“We had a lot of contributors and playing a good side, you need that. Corey Grindlay, Jake Layley, Brenton Cox, Matthew Bonello, Steven Boyall and Korey Jonkers were some [individual standouts],” he said.
“Our back line did a really good job on a lot of their good players, and we didn’t give them many opportunities to score and our tackling pressure up the ground was awesome, which made it hard for Riddell to work its attack.”
Mathieson commended the efforts of Riddell, which had won its first three matches of the season, knowing Wallan had a tough opponent to come up against.
“Playing Riddell, we were coming up against one of the better sides in the league, and we played really well considering we knew [what they would bring],” he said.
“Not only to win, but to win so comprehensively and play as well as we did was impressive.”
In other RDFNL games, Romsey fell to a nail-biting one-point loss on the road to Diggers Rest, 14.6 (90) to 14.7 (91).
Romsey led by seven points at the main break before a five-goal third term from Diggers Rest levelled the scores at 65 going into the final term.
Due to players isolating for COVID-19 protocols, the reserves match between the two sides was forfeited as Romsey did not have enough players to field a team.
Lancefield secured a 77-point victory against Western Rams, led by Jay Russell with four goals.
Five further goal scorers and a very strong defence kept Western Rams to a three-goal game, 15.10 (100) to 3.5 (23).
This weekend, Lancefield and Wallan face each other for the first time this season at Lancefield Park while Romsey have a bye.