Disposals: Phillips 28, Paton 21, Langlands 20, B. Seccull 20, Young 20, Clavarino 19
Goals: Carroll, Joyce, Mayo 3, Owens 2, Jones, Marsh, Paton, Rice, Thompson
Sandringham enjoyed a comprehensive victory in their last game of the season, ending a nine-game draught, and running away with a 53-point win over Northern Blues at Preston City Oval.
From the first bounce, it was evident from the outset that the Zebras had a plan to attack as they utilised the wings at every possibility. The hunting pressure and fierce tackling worked to their advantage, securing a five-goal first quarter as the Zebras kept the Blues scoreless after 20 minutes of play.
The Zebras defensive work spelled trouble for the Blues, the grunt and determination to lock it in paying dividends as Darragh Joyce kicked our first after winning a holding the ball free kick. Ryan Carroll followed it up soon after.
The Blues launched inside 50 for the first time within the 11th minute but Sandringham’s defensive power were able to withstand a Blues attack, rebounding with ease as the inside 50 count read 19-3 going into the huddles.
Bailey Rice capped off a fine season with a goal of his own in the first, winning a 50m penalty to bring him within range. His endurance to run off half back and always find the ball was a true highlight of his game.
It appeared that goals became more of a backmen’s feature than the forwards with Jonathon Marsh taking his turn to launch one from the arc. Every one of his teammates rushed to congratulate him to the jubilation of Zebras fans who’d made their way to Preston. Carroll scored another major minutes before the siren sounded to end the first quarter to increase the lead further.
The Blues came out of the first break intent of making a charge and finally got a goal through retiring Carlton forward Alex Fasolo.
Callum Jones was able to regain that score when he was another beneficiary of a strong Sandringham forward 50 attack, winning another holding the ball call. The Zebras still took a healthy lead into the main break despite Northern Blues outscoring them in the second quarter, however, it was still crucial to not let the result slip.
Just like he started the first quarter off for the Zebras with a goal, Joyce kicked our first out of the extended break in what started a goal-for-goal quarter.
Theo Thompson got on the goalkickers list as a result of a mongrel punt to the goalsquare looking for Jack Mayo. Some superb shepparding allowed the ball to bounce through but only just as the height of the ball’s bounce could’ve seen it go either way.
The lead increased to over 50 points after Sandringham kicked the next three to Mayo running into open space, Carroll to score his third of the afternoon and Kai Owens with a checkside after receiving a handball in heavy traffic from Mayo.
Sandringham’s transition from the backline rebound and ball movement inside 50 was clearly a teamwork mentality, with Joyce getting his third after finding some space for a pinpoint pass landing on his chest.
Sam Sofrinidis got in on the action, with constant pestering of the Northern Blues backline. He did well to intercept a kick in the forward 50 but wasn’t thinking about a shot 40m out. Instead, he spotted Mayo who became another of the Zebras multiple goalscorers.
Sandringham’s score exceeded 100 points for the first time this season after Ben Paton got himself a goal and shortly after Mayo penciled in his third.
With the lead at 75 points midway through the final quarter, Northern Blues kicked the final four of the game however the margin was still the Zebras’ biggest winning margin of the season.
Carroll, Joyce and Mayo each scored three goals in a dominant display up forward with another six players kicking it through the big sticks.
Ed Phillips was the leading disposal-getter for Sandringham with 28, backed up with six tackles. Paton had a great game finishing with 21 possessions and six tackles also.
Doultan Langlands had a great game of the year coming out with 20 disposals and could’ve had three goals himself (three behinds) but his speed in the middle was influential nonetheless.
Kai Owens played a complete game, gathering 18 touches in a game shared with Joyce in the ruck. Owens got two goals and landed a game-high 11 tackles.
For the Zebras, that’s the season done and dusted for 2019. The team’s final position was 12th with six wins and 12 losses, the highlight being a thrilling one-point victory over Collingwood in Round 6.
Sandringham Football Club thank all our fans for continuing to support the team throughout an entertaining season and look forward to coming back next year with a vengeance!