Revved-up Robins in thrilling win
Monday, 27th June, 2011
After a lean trot dating back to April, the Robins have returned to the winner’s enclosure with a thrilling 14-point victory over South at Alma Oval.
The win was set up in the second quarter when West booted seven goals in a wonderful display of attacking football.
It was the best I have seen this club play all season. They were brilliantly led by ruckman Matt Nelson who fed his runners Chad Ryan, Brent Rose, Jordan Tonkin, Leighton Raven and Brett Martin.
The victory pushes the Robins back into finals contention as they reclaim third spot on the ladder from Central and at the same time it breathes some new life into the competition.
The match started with McInerney and Milne dropping out for West and being replaced by Darren Zannette and Cohen Pettitt. The Roos had Boland drop out so they brought in Jeff Harvey.
The Robins opted for Teelow at full forward and he was opposed by Vlatko. Conway was at centre half forward with Bird alongside him. Dalby started back with Tom Kickett on a back flank.
An important pre-game move for West was Chad Ryan into the middle. He has been played all over the field in recent years but with his experience and ability he has surely now found his rightful spot on the ball.
The first quarter had West attacking to the city end. Early on play was mainly between the two half back lines. The Roos had the first two goals on the board courtesy of Wood and Schorn.
The Robins responded with two of their own, one of those the result of a sensational run by Ryan. The veteran gathered the ball at half back and set off for a six bounce run that covered some 150 metres. He then hit Nathan Kickett with a lace out pass and he converted.
Quarter Time: West 2-3 (15) South 2-1 (13)
The next 30 minutes provided some of the best football of the season. West kicked seven goals and South three. It was high-quality, high-octane footy at its best.
With Nelson winning the ruck, the Robins’ runners were up and about. Rose was alternating between half back and midfield and was everywhere. He booted two monster goals on the run to ignite the Railwaytown faithful.
On the other flank Tom Kickett was smooth and clinical with his disposal. Ryan, Raven, Martin and Tonkin were bobbing up all over the place and South had no answer to the onslaught.
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The South coaching staff moved Bird forward to give themselves an attacking option. Simon O’Brien chipped in with two goals of his own to give the “Roo Hill” something to cheer about.
At half time West were up by 31 points and it wasn’t just the hot pies their supporters could smell during the break - it was win number three.
Half Time: West 9-8 (62) South 5-1 (31)
The third quarter was in total contrast to what we had just witnessed and it became a battle of the backlines as both defences stood up. West were led by their courageous skipper John Blore who was flattened by a bone jarring hip and shoulder from Hamish Wood. The tough as teak Blore got to his feet and stayed on the ground although he was shaken, just not stirred.
Both teams had a real dip but only two goals were scored for the term.
Three Quarter Time: West 10-9 (69) South 6-4 (40).
Trailing by 29 points, South looked well and truly out of the game. They lacked run and seemed to be floundering across half forward. It seemed the last quarter would be a mere formality for West. If so, someone forgot to tell the players in red and white.
It was a revitalised Roo outfit as they threw everything at the Robins and as the clock counted down it wasn’t only the scarves around the West supporters’ necks that were red. Their faces were reflecting their anxiety as South mounted a comeback.
Magin goaled first, several shots then missed narrowly before Schorn bagged a pair and with three minutes left in the game the margin was just eight points.
After Schorn’s last goal an upset was in the air and the tension at Alma Oval was palpable, the place was humming.
Then the game changed. With the clock ticking the umpire came in to bounce the ball in the centre after South’s last goal. It was then that a South player ran into the square. He was spotted and a free kick was paid to Matt Nelson.
As the giant ruckman gathered himself for one last effort, he passed the ball off, it went deep into the West forward line where the aptly named Raven swooped and goaled to restore a 14-point buffer and effectively seal the game for the Robins.
When the siren sounded players collapsed onto the ground. West supporters then stood alongside the players’ race to acknowledge their team as they came from the field.
It was a fitting gesture to 22 players who had given their all.
I have mentioned the mid field for West but credit also must go to their backline. Blore, Dalby, Zanette and Naden were resolute and never gave an inch.
It was a great game to watch and it was played in good spirit.
Finding best players for South was a tough task. Schorn booted five goals in a classy display while Vlatko was strong at full back. Marcus O’Brien went in with a tight hamstring and looks in need of a rest. He battled on but is clearly not fuly fit.
The Roos will now re-group and with so much talent looking on from outside the fence they will rebound. Throw in those players who were unavailable and a well-credentialed full forward who is at the moment making his way from Tasmania, and South will be there in September.
For the Robins, well their assistant coach Jamie Simmons summed it up best: “The boys did everything we asked them to do - run the ball, hunt in packs and kick it long. They were sensational.”
Yes, they were. Roll on next week.
West 11-10 (76) South 9-8 (62)
West - Matt Nelson, Chad Ryan, Brent Rose, Leighton Raven, Jordan Tonkin, John Blore.
South - Mick Vlatko, Cody Schorn, Michael Westley, Arlen Bird, Marcus O’Brien, Jordan Staker.
West - Heath Teelow 2, Leighton Raven 2, Brent Rose 2, Brett Martin, Nathan Kickett, Greg Conway, Shane Dalby, Jordan Tonkin.
South - Cody Schorn 5, Simon O’Brien 2, Daniel Magin, Hamish Wood.
Reserves: South 16-9 (105) West 5-1 (31).