Preview: Williamstown vs Sandringham
Round 21 of the Peter Jackson VFL showcases a fierce battle between sixth and fifth on the ladder when the Williamstown Seagulls go head to head with the Sandringham Zebras.
Both Clubs’ have upped the ante in recent weeks, striding out into a sprint as they approach the final straight, with the finals on the horizon.
Williamstown enter this weekend looking for their fifth victory in a row which tallies their longest winning streak for the season. Football & Development Manager, Chris Dixon believes it has all come together at the right time for the team.
“I know it’s a bit of a cliché but over the last month we’ve really had a consistent effort across the board with everyone playing their role. It’s been great to see some really good contributions from some of our younger players who have stepped up over the past few weeks with guys like Jack Charleston, Nick Sing and Kwame McHarg taking their opportunity at senior level.”
The Seagulls look to be re-grouping at an ideal time for a successful finals campaign.
“We’re not too far off being full strength, last week we were missing Jamie McNamara and Cameron Lockwood out of our senior players but we expect to have them back in action soon.
“In the past few weeks we’ve regained some of our younger talented players from injury with Anthony Anastasio, Damien Bugeja and Robbie Ball all returning so we’re hopeful we can have everyone fit and available for finals.”
Williamstown last met the Zebras in Round 5, which resulted in a 19 point triumph for the Seagulls after they opened the game with a five goal to nil first term.
“We know it’s going to be a tough battle. Sandringham are an exceptional side with a good mix of AFL and VFL talent and it was a very tough contest in Round 5 when we played them. They looked extremely impressive in their win against Collingwood and we feel they are close to full strength so it’s certainly going to be a big challenge for our young side.”
Dixon is comfortable in admitting that their top four chances are grim, but feels confident in his Club’s abilities.
“Fourth spot in out of reach for us. We’re not too worried about ladder positions we’re just keen to keep working hard and continue to show the good form we have over the last month.
“We’d love to enter the finals with a bit of momentum and knowing that we’ve been playing our best football. Although we’ve now secured a finals position the last thing we want to do is drop our guard and lower our standards,” Dixon said.
Sandringham approach this contest in similar form, developing momentum with each match they encounter. However, this weekend’s challenge will be a far cry from the Zebras last games against Collingwood and Frankston. Ryan Webster, Sandringham’s Midfield & Assistant Coach believes their success is reliant on perfecting the fundamentals of their game.
“All we can ask of the guys is to keep focussing on our processes, regardless of the opposition from week to week. However, I think the group have gained some more confidence from our last two rounds which they will take into the game against Williamstown.”
Although Williamstown were able to put their name to the last win between the sides, Webster considers that the match was within their reach.
“The main thing we can take from our last encounter was that we were in a position to win that match. If we can control the contested ball and produce a four quarter effort then I am sure that we are in with a good chance of reversing the result this time,” Webster said.
Sandringham appears to have a flourishing relationship with their aligned partner, the St Kilda Football Club. Their successful performances seem to go hand in hand and if both teams can remain fit, then a top four spot and a promising finals series is an option for the Zebras.