2nd Qualifying Final Match Report - Stingrays Beached In Qualifier
The Dandenong Southern Stingrays took on second placed Gippsland Power last Saturday at Visy Park for the Qualifying final in the TAC Cup. Holding a 34 point lead at three quarter time the Stingrays looked home, but in what many saw the shock result of the weekend victory snatched from them as the Power completely dominated with 12 scoring shots and kept the Stingrays scoreless which saw them win by 11 points.
In fine conditions the Stingrays fired the first shot and scored after a few minutes through Matt Rennie after a great display of intense contested football that was being played between the arcs. The ball headed back to the middle for a bounce and through a bit of magic from Clayton McCartney he converted truly for the Stingrays second goal a few minutes later. The third goal to the Stingrays was once again through the Stingrays midfield that drove the ball inside 50 to the big boys before Billy Hartung showed his class and poise with a very good running goal. After a few minutes of play Hartung kicked another to add to the Stingrays scoreboard dominance. At the first change the Stingrays had completely shut out the power to keep them scoreless and themselves holding a 29 point lead. They missed 5 other gettable goals which could have seen the game over after 27 minutes of play. Dandenong Stingrays Coach Graeme Yeats was happy with the first quarter but asked all players to lift their intensity and win more 1 on 1 situations, stick tackles, work on structures around the ground and show some composure when hitting up the forwards.
The second term started with a bang with the Power splitting the middle and it looked like they might take control of the game. The Stingrays had to work into the slight wind and controlled the ball for long periods of the term but were not able to punish the Power on the scoreboard. Billy Hartung, Clayton McCartney and Lachie Whitfield all kicked goals in the second quarter, but other opportunities were wasted from shallow entries and poor work rate. On the flip side straight kicking allowed Gippsland back into the game, which saw them cut the lead at the half time break to 25 points. During the long break Yeats spoke to the team about not over possessing the ball, but was very happy with the pressure the entire group had produced, with the tackle count climbing and the inside 50’s putting Gippsland Backline under plenty of pressure and stress.
The third quarter started with the first goal once again to the Power and they completely controlled most of the forward entries for the next 10 minutes. The third quarter ended up being a battle of defenders with both teams on top of their direct opponents and rebounding the ball, but the Stingrays were producing shallow entries or lacking precision and Gippsland wasted opportunities themselves to close the gap. Finally late in the quarter Lachie Whitfield broke the drought and kicked a steadying goal to once again extending the lead to a comfortable margin. The goal seemed to spark the Stingrays and they took their turn of controlling the play peppering inside 50 for the next few minutes before Jake Calvert kicked another stingray’s goal. The siren sounded with the Stingrays holding what most believed a match winning lead of 34 points, seeming at this stage Gippsland had only managed to kick 5 goals 2 points in three quarters of football. Yeats spoke about the need to shut down the opposition as they would throw everything at them, and to work on transitioning the ball with composure into the slight breeze.
The last quarter started as Yeats suggested with a very aggressive Gippsland throwing everything thing at every contest, eventually kicking the first goal and they continued to pile them on. The wheels fell off the Stingrays dominance train and they seemed to be second the ball and lacked composure when needed. The whole quarter was played in the Gippsland Power inside 50 as they took the ball from the middle at each centre stoppage with ease. The Stingrays only entered their inside 50 three times, each time being denied a score by the Gippsland defence.
The Stingrays would look at this as the one that really got away going as they went down by 11 points as the siren sounded, missing out on the weeks rest and the easier ride to the TAC CUP preliminary finals.
The Stingrays now must take on Oakleigh Chargers in the do or die Semi Final to be played at Visy Park, Carlton on Sunday 9th September at 11.45am. Entry is free.