A Lachlan Fairly 9-goal haul has led Spotswood to a rousing victory over Albion away from home on Saturday.
The Woodsmen are now the only undefeated side in the competition after four rounds, with other results falling in favour of the green and gold.
Facing former coach Chris O’Keefe and his young Albion side, Coach Anthony Eames’ message pre-game was to start strongly and deny the opposition clean possession – which they nailed on both accounts.
Elliot Wood was named best on ground.
The Woodsmen were scorching hot from the first bounce, and blitzed the Cats with 10 first quarter goals, whilst conceding just one themselves. Marking big-man Fairly was doing most of the damage, his clean hands and athleticism proving too much to handle.
Fairly has been in great touch to start the season, and a bag of 9 majors on Saturday is a remarkable effort considering he went down mid-2016 with a torn ACL. His efforts in rehabilitation and his commitment to the team has shone through with his early form.
Through the middle, ruckman Dylan Jones gave the mids first use, much to the delight of the brigade that included Wayne Patak, Tom Langlands and Nayef Hamad.
Down back, Elliot Wood once again stood tall manned on the opposition’s most dangerous options – this time on old friend O’Keefe. Wood showed his leadership amongst the back six, directing traffic and controlling the area when the ball came his way.
As the game continued, the Woodsmen did not relent at any stage, delivering a killer four-quarter performance that the coaching group was asking for. Another five goals in each of the second and third quarters set up for a strong finish, which was duly completed by the men in green and gold.
Spotswood kicked another eight goals to finish the game, including number 9 for Fairly, with a total of 10 players getting in on the goal kicking action.
This weekend sees the Woodsmen take on Wyndhamvale at home, a team that split the season series 1-1 in 2016 and have some dangerous young players.
Final score: Spotswood 28.8.176 def Albion 7.8.50
Goals: L. Fairley 9, D. Callard 3, B. Walshe 3, J. Orchard 3, N. Hamad 3, C. Bettiol 2, W. Patak 2, M. Boyd 2, J. Bennett, D. Jones
Best: E. Wood, N. Hamad , J. Beilby, L. Fairley, J. Norton, G. Newton
Spotswood led from the front from the beginning of this match and held on to win a thrilling game to open the account for 2017.
Returning forward Shaun Buttigieg-Clarke bagged four goals, while Shane Johnston ran rampant to give the Woodsmen the edge over the Cats.
The side was brimming with confidence, with a number of players returning to the field after long-term or pre-season injuries – including Shamus Tippet and Will Garde. Joining them was the return of Dave Isbister, who slotted nicely into the midfield.
Albion kept up the fight throughout the game, and kicked four goals in the final term, to keep the game interesting until the final siren, but Spotswood had winners at every post.
The second quarter proved to be the difference, with Spotswood booting six goals to one to put the opposition to the sword.
Final score: Spotswood 12.6.78 def Albion 10.5.65
Goals: S. Buttigieg-Clarke 4, T. Doer-Tolhurst 3, B. MacDonald, J. Cross, J. Cairns, M. McLean, S. Bermingham
Best: S. Johnston, S. Buttigieg-Clarke, Z. Del Grosso, T. Doer-Tolhurst, T. Gorey, N. Terry
A strong start gave the Woodsmen hope of a quality contest in cool conditions at Albion on Saturday, but they were unable to sustain the effort for each of four quarters.
Jaii Bunting was prolific all over the ground, while Jordan Boyd and Toby Kopa also proved too much to handle at times for the opposition.
The second and third quarters were all but a write off for the Woodsmen, giving them too much to do in the final term to scrape over the line.
Despite their best efforts, the game was beyond reach for Spotswood, but it did not hinder their efforts as they went on to win the final term 15 to 6.
The side will work on their four-quarter efforts to continue their push for a strong 2017 campaign.
Final score: Spotswood 5.9.39 def by Albion 8.13.61
Goals: M. Coleman 2, T. Bennett, T. Kopa, P. O’Keefe
Best: J. Bunting, Z. Busuttil, T. Kopa, J. Drage, J. Boyd, B. Kelly