2012 Round 14 vs Shepparton United Football
The two top teams, according to ladder positions, clashed at Tatura Park on Saturday. For the winner, premiership favouritism would be the reward and a psychological advantage over their opponent.
The president of Tatura Football & Netball Club, Daryl Eaton welcomed the members of the 1952 premiership side to the large crowd and also accepted the Morrison medal from former player Bill Pritchard’s family who have kindly donated the medal to the Bulldogs. The club will be custodians of the medal and it will be kept at the Ballantyne Centre.
A minute’s silence was also accorded club stalwart, Ron Alper who passed away recently.
With the formalities done with, the crowd lookied forward to the much anticipated clash.
Tatura had Cam Trewin and Tom Durward out, both injured; they were replaced with Alex O’Reilly and Paul Neville.
The Bulldogs were switched onto the contest from the first bounce. Paul Kirby continued his ruck dominance and the mid field of Shannon Broadbent, Lee Owen and Linc Wellington put their heads over the ball and fed it out to Tom Sullivan and James Sullivan and the other abundant runners. The pattern of the match was set in the first 10 minutes; every time a United player touched the ball, they were immediately set upon and put under pressure, which caused plenty of turnovers.
The Bulldogs quickly rattled on the first three goals and it was not until the 18-minute mark that the opposition finally got its first goal. On the rare times the ball did cross deep into defence, the backline repelled in consummate style.
Jayden Young had the job on the experienced Matt Forys and he completely shut him down. Ryan Crawford picked up the VCFL Country representative Tim Looby and limited his input to the point that he finished the contest at full back on the dangerous Chris Ryan. The run from defence was again provided through Rhodes Cousland, Justin Murphy and Tom Miller.
The first break had Tatura up by only 16 points and it was only poor conversion that was hindering a more healthy reward for the domination.
The second term saw the Bulldogs blow the contest apart with some fantastic team-orientated football. The stingy defence kept the United forwards to a single point for the term whilst the forwards led by Chris Ryan (5 goals), who played his best game for a while and marked everything in sight ably assisted by Steve Shaw (4 goals) who contested well and continually provided a target. The 50-point lead at the long break had the crowd a little stunned and was a similar display to the first half against Rochester.
The eight goals that Tatura had on the board were kicked by eight different goal kickers, testimony again to the ability to share the ball around.
A seven-goal-to-three second half, in favour of the home team, completed a fantastic four quarter effort and was a complete domination of the opposition. The mid field generated plenty of drive and this is where the contest was decided. The depth of the Bulldogs mid field goes much further than most opposition teams. Even with skipper Linc Wellington being tagged, there are many other options who run riot. The mix of hardnosed bodies and skilful outside players is a strength and one that has supporters optimistic for further success.
This result doesn’t mean a lot come September when the finals season starts, however it will certainly give the squad a lot of confidence that this side can match the best. With the next two matches being away games against fellow top six teams in Seymour and Rochester it is important to maintain the momentum. This victory should make a top three finish a real possibility.
SCORES: Tatura 15-18-108 V United 5-3-33
GOALS: C Ryan 5, S Shaw 4, P Neville 1, B Hicks 1, R Montgomery 1, P Kirby 1, A O’Reilly 1, J Sullivan 1.
BEST: P Kirby, C Ryan, J Young, T Miller, S Broadbent, L Owen.
The third placed Bulldogs were up against a side that also have aspirations to play finals. Billy Lovel and Tim Little joined the team as they make their way back from injury.
The result was similar to the seniors as the Bulldogs completed dominated their opponents after a tight first ten minutes.
The final score had the home side victorious by 82 points and take a strangle hold on 3rd place being two games and a large percentage clear of 4th place.
The movement of the football was high class and with a sprinkling of top senior footballers such as Tim Little who gained many possessions, Lovel who controlled half back, Jayce O’Neill who is also working his way into some strong form and Corey Mallon and Joe Conheady controlling the stoppages the side were a class above the opposition.
Reece Pollard (4 goals) finished the work off up forward and he is challenging Alex O’Reilly for the goal kicking award, now only 13 behind and having a stellar season since returning from Murchison. Steve Beale stamped his continued development with a skilful performance, regularly setting up his team mates with hand ball or by foot. Adam Brassil, another player with senior experience picked up plenty of possessions.
With quite a few players returning in the next few weeks the reserves will only get stronger and success come finals time will be viewed optimistically.
SCORES: Tatura 14-14-98 V United 2-4-16
GOALS: R Pollard 4, J Conheady 3, C Mallon 2, L Magee 1, S Thorn 1, B Vanderdonk 1, J Harris 1, T Little 1.
BEST: J O’Neill, J Conheady, S Beale, T Little, C Mallon, A Brassil.
The young Pups needed a victory over the 2nd placed United combination to maintain some hope of snatching a place in finals action.
The coaching staff led by the returning Joe Minutoli has got this team playing a good brand of football and they took it right up to their more fancied opponents. James Nihill who is having a great run of form set the play up early and he was assisted by the hard running Zac Brian and Mitch Elliott. With Robert Kirby nailing two goals and Sean Martin and Dylan Argus lively up forward the Tatura side opened up a 14 point lead at the long break.
Geordie Kilmartin, Dylan Minutoli and Damon Guy became involved and the second half was much anticipated and a real air of an upset could be felt. Unfortunately Vice Captain Ben Harris broke his collarbone during the third term and was taken to hospital, his loss robbed the team of a potent scoring option.
The pattern of previous encounters resurfaced and the Bulldogs let United back into the contest with that one poor quarter of football leaving themselves 10 points down at the last break.
With straight kicking the Demons completed the match scoring only one behind and twelve goals. A 7 goal to 2 second half in favour of the visitors had Tatura defeated by 14 points.
The coaching staff were disappointed that the team had that one quarter lapse which against the top sides is fatal, a four quarter display will have them match the best teams.
SCORES: Tatura 9-5-59 V United 12-1-73.
GOALS: R Kirby 2, D Argus 1, S Martin 1, M Elliott 1, B Harris 1, A Howley 1, M Cornwall 1, M Daniel 1.
BEST: J Nihill, D Guy, Z Brian, G Kilmartin, M Elliott, D Minutoli.