The Sandringham Zebras suffered a tough loss to the Werribee Tigers on their home turf.
Photography: Darcy Allen
The Zebras came out against an in-form Werribee side over the weekend, ultimately falling short by 76 points. St Kilda's Zak Jones led the disposal count for the Zebs, collecting 35 touches, kicking one goal and laying seven tackles in his second game back from injury through the VFL. AFL-listed Ben Paton had 31 touches whilst consistent Zeb, Tyson Milne, finished with 21 disposals and seven marks off half-back. Noah Gown was the only multiple-goal scorer for the Zebras kicking two majors.
Both teams came out firing, with Werribee winning the first clearance from the centre bounce. Getting the Zebras out of trouble quickly were the hands of Tom Highmore from full-back, who kicked to his tall up the ground in Max Heath. Using our speed, the Zebs used the unprotected corridor to move the ball up the ground to our end. Young Saint, Olli Hotton, took his scoring opportunity and tried to dribble the football through, just missing and scoring the Zebras' first minor of the day. In the following passage of play, Werribee controlled the ball well, moving it through the middle and scoring their first major from a quick turnaround.
Jones was clean in the clearance at the next centre bounce, kicking long down to our forwards. After a stoppage right on the 50m arc, Jack Bytel came with a clean scoop and snapped at goal. With the ball being touched, the smarts of Gown ran hard towards the ball and soccered it through for our first major for the day.
Answering quickly to Sandringham, Werribee responded fast with their second goal. Following on from this, they held the momentum and managed to kick six more goals to Sandy's one at the quarter-time break.
Looking to catch up to Werribee's first-quarter blitz, the Zebs came out firing and ready to attack at any chance. Unfortunately for Sandringham, Werribee wasn't looking to stop their fast game play, kicking the next goal.
After the next bounce, the fast pace of Jones proved vital in the Zebs' ball movement, as he was able to clear it out for us. Veteran Saint, Jack Billings snapped off his non-preferred right foot to try and make something happen for Sandringham. Gown was in front at the right moment and won a free from a contest, converting for the Zebs and his second of the afternoon.
After the next bounce, Jones took an excellent uncontested mark in the middle of the ground after a Werribee turn-over. He was clipped high on his face after the mark and was awarded a 50-metre penalty, moving down and kicking another major, softening Werribee's lead.
Billings was our next goal scorer, kicking a massive long ball from outside 50.
We headed into halftime with Werribee leading by 34 points.
Not looking to stop any momentum after halftime, Werribee came out of the centre and streamlined through the middle, gaining territory on Sandy and immediately kicking their tenth goal.
With the pressure of Werribee building, the Zebs couldn't find any scoring opportunities. Midway through the third quarter, Werribee had kicked five goals in a row.
Looking to regain control, we used what we had well, gaining our first forward entry for the quarter. Jake Lohmann was held in a contest and was awarded a free 30 metres out, kicking the Zebras first of the quarter.
Shortly after, Jordan Segar was also awarded a free and converted for our sixth of the afternoon.
After a fast end-to-end chain of play, dangerous goal sneak Matt Harms made the most of the team's efforts by getting on the end of one in the goal square.
The final quarter started much like the other three, with Sandringham desperately trying to soften their blow, but it didn't take Werribee long to get back on the board.
The Zebras gained possession back after the next bounce as we managed to keep the ball in our hands whenever it looked like slipping. With a chip kick from Paton to Heath, his height stood tall as he plucked the ball out of the air in front of goal, kicking his first major of the day.
Playing up forward was developing young Saint, James Van Es, with a booming kick towards goal, his teammate in Hotton was on the line, took the grab and put it through for Sandy's final goal of the day.
Final Score: Werribee Tigers 22.9 (141) defeated Sandringham 9.11 (65)
Goals: N. Gown (2), J. Billings, M. Harms, M. Heath, O. Hotton, Z. Jones, J. Lohmann, J. Segar