Disposals: Seccull 29, Fox 25, Tahana 25, White 23, Langlands 22 & Mayo 20.
Goals: Batten, Haidon, Marsh, Noone & Seaton.
A gallant Sandringham side has fallen to Geelong by 26 points on what was a cold and wet afternoon at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong. The Zebras were excited to welcome debutants Trent Thomas and Callum Jones into the side as they played their first game of VFL footy!
It was a difficult day for footy with the conditions of the ground both wet and slippery. The opening stages of the contest where tightly contested, with the first goal of the day coming through some slick work by Geelong's midfield, allowing Brownless to convert.
Zebras were putting the pressure on early, forcing Geelong to commit two defensive 50 turnovers, in which Batten was able to intercept on one and convert. More offensive pressure allowed Seaton to get a free kick inside 50, and score our second goal of the day. But it was Geelong who took back the lead after a swift counter-attacking move off our half-forward line, moving the ball quickly through the corridor to find Fort who scored from the goal square.
Three behinds to finish the quarter gave Geelong a four point lead heading into the second term.
The Zebras again tested Geelong's ball movement, pressing high and locking the footy inside Geelong's defensive half.
As Geelong finally broke free, a kick down the wing ended up in the hands of Noone, who was soon to be awarded a 50m penalty and a set shot on goal. From 40m out, Noone made no mistake, and kicked truly.
At the midway point of the second term, strong efforts from Mayo (12 disposals), Fox (12 disposals) and Tahana (11 disposals) helped the Zebras maintain the edge over the Cats. A blistering run by Marsh from wing to deep inside the forward 50 had the Zebras kick their fourth of the day and take advantage of an ineffective Cats side.
But they answered back quickly, kicking two consecutive goals to end the half and go into the main break with a three point lead.
The start of the third saw Sandringham unable to convert on several opportunities. And after a string of Sandy behinds, Geelong's Black was able to punish the Zebras by scoring and extending the lead to 13 points.
Sandringham's midfield responded, with Seccull winning the ball and sending it long down to Haidon, who marked and played on to dribble through his first for the day. Another quick surge forward from the ruck contest and a big mark to Kai Owens, allowed us to score a late behind and trail by 7 at the final change.
The Zebras could no longer keep up their efforts in the final term, as their pressure started to wear off. Geelong broke free, and found two quick goals to extend their lead. From the 10-minute mark of the quarter, ball movement was back and north, but neither team were able to register a score.
A goalless final quarter played no help to the Zebras, as the boys went down by 26 points.
Long sleeved Brandon White continued to impress, as he collected 23 disposals off Sandringham's backline. Langlands contested hard, laying seven tackles, and Jack Mayo collected a season high 20 disposals, impressing several eyes down at GMHBA.
Sandringham's captain Brede Seccull (29 touches) was again one of our best, as was fan favourite Sam Fox (25 touches, 7 marks). Off season recruit Stephen Tahana played one of his best games for the season, collecting 25 touches as he showcases as a favourite for Sandringham's KFC Player of the Game Competition on Facebook.
Our next match sees us back home at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval for our Rival Air Round 16 clash against Footscray.