Tooradin-Dalmore endured a 45-point defeat in its West Gippsland Football Competition debut on Saturday in the opening country football match of the year.
After kicking three unanswered majors to level the scores at quarter-time, the Cobras took a slender four-point advantage into the main break, which they continued to open up in the second half. Jaxon Briggs and younger brother Heath impressed through the middle of the ground for Cora Lynn, but it was up forward where the Cobras set themselves apart.The mouth-watering potential of the combination of Nathan Gardiner, Travis Woodfield, Troy Tharle, and Nathan Langley was on full display with Gardiner, in particular, taking full advantage. He booted 7.3 up forward in a powerhouse display of strong, athletic marking and reliable kicking showing incredible polish for a player still in his early 20’s.
In its first game after leaving the South East Football League. which is now disbanded, Tooradin-Dalmore managed to stay within four points of last year’s semi finalist Cora Lynn at half time of the night match before the game blew open.
Cora Lynn banked the first premiership points of the year, 16.10 (106) to 9.7 (61).
“We just controlled what we could control,” Cora Lynn coach David Main said in the rooms post-game.
“Over summer we worked on two styles of offense and defense, and we want to be really good at both of them because at some stage of the game we’re going to need to rely on both to either take the sting out of the game, or put our foot to the throat. “That was the big theme if they were winning the footy, what were we doing defensively?
”We addressed a few things at quarter-time, and that then triggered our offense.
“That just had a domino effect of our mids getting on top, and getting more forward entries, and that then allowed our forwards to gain more confidence.
“Defensively we have to stay really strong, too, Which we were for three quarters.
After their fast start, the Gulls seemed to struggle for options in their forays forward. That could be put down to a number of things – including Cora Lynn’s defensive pressure – but Tooradin-Dalmore need to find more consistent avenues to goal if they are going to bounce back quickly against Nar Nar Goon this week.
Tooradin-Dalmore coach Lachlan Gillespie said his side had a good start kicking into a stiff breeze in the opening quarter. But then he said the Seagulls felt the pressure from their Cora Lynn opponents and also “mentally switched off”.
“We were probably poor bar about a quarter-and-a-half, so I don’t think we played very good footy,” he said “I think we were a little bit overawed and went back into our shells, but I think also a lot of credit goes to Cora Lynn … they were very attacking and they have a powerful forward line.
“We learnt a lot from it, that’s for sure.” Gillespie added that the loss in the opening game might not be such a bad thing for Tooradin-Dalmore, which finished sixth with five wins in the South East league last year.
“It might have given the boys a reality check and an understanding it is going to be a strong comp and you have to play well for four quarters otherwise you won’t win so many games,” he said.
The baptism of fire continues for Tooradin-Dalmore this Saturday as it faces another away game against preliminary finalist Nar Nar Goon. Its first home game will be against Dalyston next Saturday.