By Colin MacGillivray
A DEPLETED Lancefield was no match for Wallan at the weekend, with finals-bound Magpies flexing their muscles against their Macedon Ranges neighbours in round 15 of the Riddell District Football Netball League.
Wallan piled on nine goals in the first quarter and barely relented from then on, recording a 28.18 (186) to 6.6 (42) victory in front of a home crowd at Greenhill Reserve.
Spearheads Corey Grindlay and Matt Perri kicked six goals each but also set up their team mates on multiple occasions in a display of unselfishness that impressed assistant coach Spencer Mathieson.
With more than half the side registering a goal, Mathieson said the Magpies were difficult for opponents to contain.
“We had 12 goal kickers, which was good. A lot of players are sharing the footy, trying to hit up team mates in better spots, which is a positive for us – we’re less predictable and harder to defend if we have lots of goal kickers,” he said.
Mathieson also lauded midfield duo Steven Boyall and Jesse Davies, with the former continuing a stellar season and the latter rounding into form after a long injury layoff.
Mathieson said Davies, a former league Bowen Medal winner, could give the Wallan midfield an added dimension in the lead-up to finals.
“Jesse looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. He’s so good with his run and carry, and his ball use is first class,” Mathieson said.
“He’s only going to get better the more time he plays and the more confidence he gets in his body. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do come the finals.
“[Boyall] has had a great season. He had a great season last year and continued on with that form.
“Ricky Schraven was good, Corey Viani was too, Sean Morris kicked four and Corey [Grindlay] and Perri up forward were good too. We had a lot of good players. It’s hard to fit them all in on a day like that.”
Lancefield was left shorthanded, with its reserves side forfeiting after several players tested positive for COVID-19.
Michael Conlan was the visitors’ best, while Ben Bryant kicked three goals and onball duo Joe Slattery and Harrison Taylor never gave up.
The Tigers will attempt to regroup for a home game against rival Romsey this weekend, with the Redbacks coming off a loss to ladder leader Diggers Rest.
Romsey was outclassed in the first half but could hang its hat on a competitive second half in which the Redbacks kicked six goals to the visitors’ seven, eventually going down 7.7 (49) to 15.14 (104).
Young gun Corey Pertzel continued his outstanding run of form with another stellar performance in the midfield, with skipper Nathan Blair, key defender Kyle Brennan and onballer Aaron Paterson also prominent.
Jack Jedwab was Romsey’s only multiple-goal kicker with two.
Meanwhile, Wallan will play Macedon in a testing away game.
Mathieson said his side knew it was in for a challenge.
“They’re pretty hard to play against when they’re at home. They beat us there last year, so we know how tough they are,” he said.
“They need to keep winning to stay in the five, so we know it’s a huge game for us and them.”
Wallan’s A Grade netballers kept the dream of a top-two finish alive after surviving an almighty scare from Lancefield at the weekend.
The Tigers had only one win to their name entering the round 15 clash but played up to the standard of their more highly ranked opponents in a 35-36 nail biter.
Chloe Meulenmeesters had one of her best performances of the season with 32 goals at better than 76 per cent conversion, and the Magpies needed every one of them to get past the visiting Tigers.
Lancefield shared the load in attack with goal attack Darcee Ellard, 19 goals, and goal shooter Brianna De Haas, 16, nearly doing enough in a heartbreaking loss.
The Tigers will now have their sights firmly set on a second win against Romsey, which was no match for Diggers Rest in a 21-75 loss at the weekend, while Wallan will take on top side Macedon in a game with big implications for the final ladder.