Reigning premier Phillip Island has picked up where it left off last season, with a dominant round one win against Kilcunda Bass.
Brothers Jack and Billy Taylor combined for seven goals in the 15.13 (103) to 3.2 (20) win at Bass Recreation Reserve.
The weather dished up a bit of everything, with strong wind in the opening term giving way to pleasant sunshine for much of the game, before the heavens opened to deliver a heavy downpour for the final 10 minutes of the match.
The one constant was the Bulldogs’ control of the contest.
It began with young forward Billy Taylor asserting himself on the scoreboard, making the most of the stiff breeze to kick two of the opening three goals of the game.
Hayden Bruce was everywhere and got a well deserved goal for his endeavour, while Brenda Kimber and Jack Taylor – the latter from 55m after the quarter time siren – also contributed to the visitors’ 32-point lead at the first change.
Panthers coach Damien Holmes was circumspect at the huddle, praising his side’s commitment and pressure in the trying conditions.
However, the Bulldogs soon made a mockery of the perceived advantage, with the opening goal of the second term, as star recruit Cameron Pedersen marked 25m from goal but unselfishly passed up the opportunity to kick his first goal in the red, white and blue, instead dishing off to an unmarked Eli Richards in the goalsquare.
It was a funny old day for the high profile debutant, who was involved in plenty and created multiple goals for others without impacting the scoreboard himself, despite numerous chances.
It mattered little, as while the wind proved a great leveller in the second quarter, it only slowed the Island juggernaut temporarily.
Jack Taylor got busy with three third quarter goals, while singles to Richards and Alex Redmond pushed the margin out to 76 points at the final change.
The home side finally broke through for their first goal of the game, when Luke Callander converted expertly from 35m early in the last.
However, two quick goals to Marcus Wright, either side of a neat finish from Panther Jake Weightman, and another to Jaymie Youle, made it a 76-point lead when the rain arrived.
The last 10 minutes were a tough slog, as the wet ball and tired bodies combined unfavorably, but there was still time for Billy Taylor to add one last goal to go with his first of the game and secure the 83-point win.
In truth, it was Phillip Island will be happy to bank the points and move on with plenty of room for improvement.
It was more a bash and crash style than the more purposeful ball movement that will be required against tougher opposition but much of that owed to the conditions and early season rust.
Jack Taylor was named the Island’s best, Jarrod Andreatta, Jason Tomada and Mark Griffin also impressed, with Pedersen and Kimber rounding out the best.
Jimmy Phillips, Taylor Gibson and Shelton Rosario stood out for the home side.WGFNC website
A host of players - both new, and returning - have made their way to 'The Kennel' for 2019. The effect of their arrival won't be fully felt for some weeks yet, and Aussie Jones' and Ricky Clark's side is bound to be a much improved outfit from the 2018 version, but there may be a few early teething issues.
And that was painfully obvious on Saturday amidst the cold and wet conditions as a clinical Cora Lynn put the home side to the sword to the tune of 41 points, 12.8 (80) to 5.9 (39).
Of course, the Cobras won by a bigger margin in the season-opener against Tooradin-Dalmore, but this - in the wet weather - was much more emphatic.
They were cleaner at the contest, stood strong in defence, and created wave after wave to attack right across the ground.
Jai Rout was the main beneficiary up forward for the Cobras, slotting five majors, while Nathan Gardiner and Nathan Langley added two apiece.
That is sure to be a recurring theme throughout the season - the improved output from the Cobras' impressive forward group.
Brady White, Heath Briggs, key defender Rylan Smith, and Jackson Dalton were all particularly influential across the ground for a Cobras side that had 12 first-half scoring shots - despite the weather.
To put that into better context - they kept Bunyip goalless in the process.
From there, the aim of the game for the Yips was improvement throughout the remainder of the contest.
They stated every bit a side that was playing its first game of the season, but showed plenty of encouraging signs throughout the second half - namely strong-bodied recruits Stephen Morey, Jye Keath, and the returning Nathan Lieshout.
They each made their presence felt at various points across the ground, as did another returning favourite son - Jeb McLeod, and Beaconsfield legend Daniel Mislicki in his new colours.
The Yips were outclassed and outplayed - and now they know the early benchmark for 2019 could well be their local rivals from Cora Lynn.Russell Bennett - Pakenham Gazette
Warragul Industrials showed endeavour in their opening match of the West Gippsland Football Competition, but it wasn’t enough as Garfield ground it out to win 4-3 (27) to 0-5 (5) in a low scoring match.
While local grounds had been magnificently prepared in the lead up to the first full round of matches, players and supporters alike were given a stark reminder that football is a winter game with a blast of cold conditions.
Indeed, supporters over at Bunyip had lamented that the conditions would have taken away from an intense battle that would have been much more of a spectacle had the conditions been dry.
While Garfield’s playing surface is typically like a bowling green even in the wet, there is no doubt the slippery conditions impacted with much of the match played close and in tight.
Tempers flared in the second quarter as players became frustrated with the conditions and close checking, with a melee breaking out near the fence on the wing.
Garfield key forward Tanner Stanton had a big say on the impact of the match, kicking two first half goals as the Stars worked to a 19 point advantage at half time.
The other goal had come from former Industrials coach Joel Morgan, who returned to Garfield after the Industrials went for a change of direction to appoint well-credentialed non-playing coach Stephen Ryan.
Things didn’t improve for the Industrials as Stanton converted from a set shot early in the third term to push the lead out to 25-points.
While instances were rare due to the intermittent rain across the day, the young Stars team did show pace on occasion when getting the break.
Having just missed finals last year, it will be interesting to see if the Stars can improve enough to take the next step under coach Hayden Stanton given some of the top teams in the competition have managed to recruit well.
The Industrials began to find more of the ball in the third term and also dominated possession in the final term, but just weren’t able to finish their work, either missing their mark or allowing the Garfield defence to mop up.
The Industrials put on a burst of scoring to start the final term, but couldn’t find the major they needed to spark a revival.
Will Gibson won a free kick in the middle and went long, only for a flying shot to miss.
Corey Nickels marked on the lead but missed, and a running shot from the club room side of the ground hit the post.
There had been much anticipation from those outside the club to see what the Industrials’ first round team would look like, and several players from a successful period of Reserves football took their place in the senior team at Garfield hoping to step up and be competitive at the top level.
Having dominated possession through effort in the later stages of the game, the Industrials will be confident they can improve with more time to adapt to a faster competition along with working on their skills and finishing.
Stanton was one of few players who showed sure hands in the slippery conditions, while Rhys Murphy, Jayden Goumas, Nicholas Macente, Lachlan Schreurs and James McKellar were also among the better players for the Stars.
Travis Ogden, Cooper Hampton, Tyson Bale, Bailey Quaife, Nickels and Michael Ablett toiled for the Industrials.Warragul & Drouin Gazette
Despite starting the 2019 season with a 54-point loss to last year’s grand finalists Koo Wee Rup at Korumburra last Saturday, Giants’ club president Peter Hislop is confident the club is on the right track.
The match started in typical footy conditions, with occasional showers that didn’t fully clear away until the second half.
The first quarter was one that the Giants would like to have again as they peppered the scoring zone and had at least as much of the ball as their more-highly fancied opponents but they simply couldn’t apply the necessary scoreboard pressure with only six points from numerous scoring shots to the Demons’ 2.1.13.
It was a scoreline that they were to rue for the rest of the day.
The Giants kicked to the scoreboard end and into the breeze. They played attacking football but poor kicking for goal proved costly.
Let off the hook by the Giants, KWR kicked on in the second quarter with a burst of three goals to lead by five.
The Giants responded and started to win the ball at the stoppages and rebounding in defence. Young guns Patterson, Hill, Johnson and captain Ben Fitzpatrick combined to kick their first goal and Macri followed up with another to lift the side.
The Demons kicked a late goal and led by 20 points at the long break.
Straight after the restart, they got another through the dangerous Sheen to put the Giants on the backfoot again and while Fitzpatrick pulled one back, his second, the Giants were turning the ball over too often and the likes of Sheen, Wells and Muratore were only happy to oblige with more goals.
The Giants, near the end of the third term, aided by Manny Jakwot’s good ruckwork, were able to kick two goals to reduce the margin to four goals at the last break.
But the visiting Demons took control in the last quarter adding six goals to one and playing like a team on a mission after last year’s disappointment.
Luke Walker (5) and Jason Wells (3) were hard to stop as their midfield began to win more contests. But the Giants didn’t give up, especially the youngsters, who worked hard and finally got reward for effort with a late goal.
“I think we played well today considering the opposition played off in the grand final last year,” said Giants’ president Peter Hislop. “The tackling and pressure in particular were exactly what coach Paul Alger was after. Everyone was impressed with what they produced today, especially given they are a very young side. “If they can keep that level up each week, they’ll definitely win games.”
Hislop said the standouts on the day were captain Ben Fitzpatrick, Zac and Alex Walker in defence, Manny in the ruck, Ask Snooks and lots of the younger guys. He said 18 year old ruckman Lucas Dohnt was one to look out for as the season progressed.
“Paul’s got them playing for each other and we’re developing a culture and an environment that making us a place where players want to come to or return to.”South Gippsland Sentinel Times
Tooradin-Dalmore rebounded quickly from its first-up loss to Cora Lynn on the opening night of the season with a gritty, steadfast 11-point win over Nar Nar Goon at Spencer Street on Saturday afternoon - 9.12 (66) to 8.7 (55).
In a wintry clash that went back and forth all day, the Gulls had to fight tooth and nail for the four points - which would have pleased coach Lachie Gillespie no end.
Luke McKenna backed up the outstanding form he showed in his side's return to West Gippsland football against the Cobras with another impressive, best on ground showing against the Goon; while the likes of Julian Suarez and skipper Matt Livermore were also particularly influential on the contest.
Almost fittingly, former North Melbourne utility Lachy Hansen - a Nar Nar Goon favourite son - booted the first goal of the contest with his first kick, while the likes of Jake Smith, Brendan Hermann, and Trent Armour stood tall for the home side.
The Goon has gone back to the future in a couple of ways this season - another being the return of its traditional 'hoops' guernsey.
In the wake of the clash, Gillespie told the Gazette his side handled Saturday's tricky conditions well.
"They don't really bother us too much," he said.
"We've got some pretty strong bodies, and wet weather footy is probably more about the simple things - putting your head over the footy and winning it.
"We actually quite enjoy that side of it - our boys are pigs like that. They don't mind the wet and the mud!"
Gillespie said that Saturday, like in the season-opener against Cora Lynn, was about learning and adjusting to the different teams in the WGFNC.
"That's probably where we're at, at this stage," he said.
"I think we adjusted a little bit quicker. They kicked a couple of really early goals straight out of the blocks and I think we barely touched the footy for the first three or four minutes.
"That was a real worry, but to the boys' credit they adjusted really quickly and we spoke during the week about being able to do that.
"We learned a few of Nar Nar Goon's patterns and started to get back on top again."
Gillespie acknowledged that his side's kicking for goal was "pretty atrocious", particularly in the early-going.
"The Goon missed some too - everyone did in those conditions - but we missed some really basic ones," he said.
"In the end it's something we're going to have to work on because you don't want to give a really good team like Nar Nar Goon any opportunities, and that's what happened in the last quarter."
The Goon kicked a couple of early goals in the fourth and put the Gulls squarely under the pump.
"They actually hit the lead, but we toughed it out and got back on top but it would have been nice to maybe be a little bit further ahead," Gillespie said.
"Against Cora Lynn we were the opposite we went back into our shells.
"I think as a team the players drove the turnaround - not so much the coaching staff.
"When the moments came during the game, the boys did stand up which just gives
them confidence to know that we have learnt from it (the Cora Lynn game).
"We had to clean up our stoppages (from the first game) - Cora Lynn bullied us and Bill (Billy Thomas) is a great ruckman and he gave their mids first use.
"I think we rectified that a lot this week - our forward entries as well, and giving ourselves options to score.
"The majority of our group has been together for a while now, so we do have a great sense of what we expect from each other and what we want to achieve, but at the same time it's a different league and everything is new again - a lot of those blokes hadn't played at Nar Nar Goon before."Russell Bennett - Pakenham Gazette
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@tooradinfnc celebrate their first win in the West Gippsland FNC with a hard fought victory over old foes Nar Nar Goon. #gippslandfooty #countryfooty #grassrootsfooty #bushfooty #tooradinfnc #tooradindalmore #tooradindalmorefnc #WGFNC #westgippyfnc #westgippslandfootballnetballcompetition #westgippslandfnc Video credit: Tooradin FNC
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Kilcunda-Bass v Phillip Island match review from article published by West Gippsland FNC website. To view original article online click here
Bunyip v Cora Lynn and Nar Nar Goon v Tooradin-Dalmore match reviews by Russell Bennett reporting for Pakenham Gazette. To view original articles in full online subscribe to Pakenham Gazette here
Garfield v Warragul Industrials match review published by Warragul & Drouin Gazette. To view original article online click here
Korumburra-Bena v Koo Wee Rup match review published by South Gippsland Sentinel Times. To view original article in full online subscribe here