Spotswood have broken a 9-game losing streak to powerhouse Deer Park in thrilling fashion, claiming victory by 34 points at home.
In a day where the weather offered more changes than the all ordinaries, the Woodsmen were able to capitalise their chances over the Lions in all of the sun, wind and rain.
The last time the Woodsmen defeated Deer Park was the 2013 Semi Final, with only Murray Boyd, Tom Langlands and Elliot Wood the current players who were there on the day. This game though, was a cracking contest from the outset.
With a clear directive from coach Eames, a sharply focused Spotswood unit was ready for anything.
The Woodsmen were dealt an early blow, losing the toss in what was a significant wind heading toward the Williamstown end, but the determination was still clear.
A scrappy encounter ensued despite the dry conditions, with both sides battling for contested ball dominance. With a tough contest like this in action, the tough types in Wayne Patak and Elliot Wood stayed strong to really lead the way for their young side.
Patak was a bull in the middle, thriving on getting his hands dirty in laying multiple tackles and delivering plenty of pressure acts. His efforts were only matched by that of Wood and his defenders alongside him, including newcomer Gareth Newton, who all quelled the potent Deer Park forwards.
At the change, Eames pushed for his side to not let their first quarter efforts go to waste, urging them to keep to the plan and apply scoreboard pressure.
The Woodsmen were up to the task at hand, piling on eight goals in stunning fashion – outmuscling Deer Park on every line. Patak again stood tall, as did young gun Nick Ryan, who had the unenviable task on the league’s most dangerous forward, Kwame McHarg.
Ryan’s application to the task was incredible, and allowed his teammates more freedom across the board. Michael Kinsella also played a great role up forward, diminishing the impact of the Deer Park half back line whilst also hitting the scoreboard himself.
The strong crowd, made even stronger by the terrific turnout for the annual Ladies Day, was raucous at the main change, throwing their support behind the green and gold.
As the black skies rolled over, word was spreading that there was the possibility the game could be called off due to the threat of lightning strikes. This threat only spurred the Woodsmen on as they fought hard against the wind again to win the quarter over the Lions.
As the weather turned wild, bucketing in sheets of rain and spinning the wind around 180 degrees, the game was seemingly on ice.
James Beilby, back from a hand injury, put the icing on the cake with a late goal to make it three for the game and putting it out of reach.
The talented Lions outfit showed patches of their dominant class again, but the work rate of the Woodsmen steadied the ship to see them sail home as winners.
With the Easter break now in this weekend, the side will have plenty to take on from this contest to develop as the season rolls on, starting with a big clash with Altona on April 22.
The side will not be carried away with a victory in round 2, despite its significance, and will look to build on this as a foundation.
Final score: Spotswood 14.8.92 def Deer Park 8.10.58
Goals: J. Beilby 3, C. Daley 2, M. Boyd 2, J. Bennett, N. Hamad , B. Williams, D. Jones, M. Kinsella, J. Dimkovski, B. Walshe.
Best: W. Patak, N. Ryan, L. Fairley, M. Kinsella, E. Wood, J. Norton.
Lions’ late charge
Deer Park got the better of the Woodsmen reserve side, piling on five last-quarter goals to steal the game.
In a thrilling contest played in a cracking Autumn sun, Deer Park shot out to an early lead in the first and consolidated it in the second to lead by 20 points at half time.
Young guns Jordan Boyd and Jack Cairns were busy during the first half, stemming the steady flow from the Lions midfield to keep the Woodsmen in the hunt.
Returning forward Shaun Buttigieg Clarke ignited a barnstorming third term, aided by the busy work of the last years’ Best and Fairest Sean Bermingham and midfielder Jeremy Cross.
The Woodsmen bagged six goals for the term, and thanks to the arrival of Tom Doer-Tolhurst, they threatened to take the game away from the much-favoured Lions. At the three quarter time break, the green and gold were up by four.
Alas, it was not to be as the wind gained momentum and the Lions were able to convert their previously missed opportunities. Despite the loss, it was a terrific contest and only enhanced the belief that if the players can stay in the game for four quarters, they can take home some big scalps in season 2017.
Final score: Spotswood 9.4.58 def by Deer Park 11.18.84
Goals: T. Doer-Tolhurst 3, S. Buttigieg-Clarke 3, S. Bermingham 2, J. Cross.
Best: J. Boyd, J. Cairns, T. Doer-Tolhurst, S. Buttigieg-Clarke, S. Bermingham, J. Cross
The youngest of the Saturday starters in green and gold provided plenty of highlights on their way to a resounding victory over Albanvale.
Led by major goal kickers Tom Barnes and Alexander Kenyi, who bagged 8 and 7 goals respectively, the side was able to work hard on their attacking game.
Albanvale were able to put up a decent fight through the midfield, however the Woodsmen used their talented depth of players to run over the top of them.
Kenyi was named best on ground, followed by Zak Busuttil in a great all-round performance by the team.
Highlighting the team factor of this win, the Woodsmen shared goals between 11 players – a great spread from a strong team.
Goals: T. Barnes 8, A. Kenyi 7, E. Rosado 4, J. Waters 4, N. Mountjoy 3, B. Johnston 3, E. Boahene 2, M. Coleman 2, N. Richmond, D. Wilson, J. Kostizen
Best: A. Kenyi, Z. Busuttil, T. Barnes, B. Johnston, E. Rosado, J. Kostizen