Sandringham defeat the Northern Bullants in front of the Zebras faithful at home
Sandringham presented a dominant performance at Wilson Storage Trevor Baker Beach Oval against the Northern Bullants on Sunday afternoon.
Photography: Mark Woods
As the Sandringham Zebras returned for their first home game since Round 16 on Sunday afternoon, the fans were delighted to witness one of the Zebras' strongest performances of the year. Coming away with the four points, the Zebras had powerful individual performances all day from both the VFL and AFL listed players.
St Kilda-listed star Jack Bytel finished the day with 35 disposals, six tackles and a goal, whilst Tim Membrey was the leading goal kicker with four and 12 marks. Isaac Keeler was again damaging in the forward line, with 15 disposals, four hit outs and three goals to his name. Anthony Seaton (22 disposals, 4 marks) and Tyson Milne (21 disposals, 6 marks) both put together a strong performance in defence.
With in-form talls at our advantage, Sandringham won the hit outs for the day 45 - 24, however the Bullants were strong from the centre finishing with a total team clearance of 44 - 39. Sandringham Dragon’s product Tarkyn O'Leary kicked his first goal at VFL level on debut, showing signs of his promising future.
The match got off to an initial slow start, with both teams searching for the first goal of the day. The Northern Bullants took the game on early with multiple attempts to move the ball forward, however there were moments like Ben Paton's intercept mark at the half back line that stopped the opposition from doing so.
Early in the quarter from the Sandy by the Bay end of the ground, Jack Hayes had a shot on goal from the boundary, however kicking a minor score. It was soon after at the 3:25 minute mark in which consistent goal sneak Jack Peris hit the score board getting the Zebras' first for the day.
In an attempt to respond to the multiple goal scoring Zebras, the Northern Bullants eventually kicked their first goal. But it didn't stop Sandringham from bringing the heat, and Keeler kicked two more majors within the final 10 minutes of the quarter - one of which came from an exciting piece of play where Milne received the ball through the corridor and kicked it deep into the forward 50 and Keeler took the mark on the other end. Vince Zagari brought some pressure and pace to the game whilst Nick Coffield excelled early, intercepting the forward entries coming into the backline.
Comparable to most of the season, Sandringham had an impressive first quarter, however there was still arguably a decent amount of work that had to be done before putting the game to bed. In the early minutes of the second term, Hayes hit up Membrey at the top of the goal square, who finished off the passage of play with his first for the day. It wasn't that soon after celebrating the goal that Membrey found his second.
As the Zebras gained momentum and took control of the game, the Bullants scurried to respond but were unable to as they continued to turn the ball over due to Sandringham's quick acting backline. Peris pushed into the defence 50 becoming incredibly influential with his numerous efforts around the contest.
The Bullants continued the fight for the four points, but we were making great use of the whole ground, particularly the corridor which rewarded us with majors on the scoreboard, one of which came from the boot of Tom Campbell. Membrey found his third goal at the end of an exciting passage of play that had the Zebra faithful vocalising their passion from the boundary line. Jake Lohmann looked inside the corridor to find Zagari, who gave a short handball to Noah Gown (playing in his 50th VFL game) who then hit up Membrey. A strong performance overall from the players gave us a comfortable lead at Half Time.
The Northern Bullants had reassessed their game plan going into the second half, bringing more pressure in the contest. After multiple stoppages Darby Hipwell snuck a goal, aggravating the Bullants as they began to become more physical, competing in both the air and the ground.
Sandringham Captain, Anthony Seaton took a courageous mark by going back of the flight in a marking contest.
Debutant, Tarkyn O'Leary kicked an exciting goal in the pocket, his first at VFL level. The exciting prospect had supporters and players alike celebrating the moment. A dominant Zebras team controlled the quarter extending the margin out to 68 points - Paton, Lohmann and Peris all getting on the scoreboard almost consecutively.
The Zebras dominated territory early in the opening minutes of the quarter, however the Bullants were able to apply pressure spoiling any forward entries that came. It didn't stop Max Heath from getting his third, nor did it stop Hayes having a classy finish on his checkside kick in the pocket.
The Northern Bullants didn't let go of the hope, staying in the game they looked to go forward, though Leo Connolly sat in the dangerous space turning the ball over once again to advantage Sandringham. At the 18 minute mark the Zebras conceded a goal, but by this point the Bullants' winning hopes were lost.
Sandringham's ball movement around the ground had been sufficient throughout the game, the selfless running of each player helped in drawing the opposition out and away from the ball. Membrey kicked his final goal after the siren, the perfect touch to end an incredible win over the Northern Bullants.