Tigers too strong for finals-hungry Seagulls
(Liam Hunt collected 20 disposals at Downer Oval. Photo by Martin Keep).
A last quarter surge from Williamstown was ultimately not enough to overcome a fierce Werribee outfit on Saturday night.
The 6.8 (44) to 4.12 (36) loss was the first for Williamstown since Round 9, but fortunately it will not impact their top four standing heading into the finals series.
Win or lose, the Seagulls had third spot all sewn up.
A classic Williamstown winter’s night created blustery conditions for the western derby, played under lights at Downer Oval for the last game of the home-and-away season.
With plenty of regulars sitting on the sidelines - including ruck-rover duo Nick Meese and Mitch Hibberd, it provided an opportunity for others to fill the void and stake a claim for September action.
Werribee took full advantage of the wind in the first quarter, kicking 4.2 to Willi’s 0.2.
The scrappy contest continued into the second term, with both teams struggling to convert in the conditions.
Sam McLarty stood up to kick the Seagulls’ first goal of the game at the beginning of the quarter.
The momentum seemed to have shifted, however Williamstown failed to capitalise on its 24 inside 50s for the quarter.
The home side struggled against the wind in the third term, again going goalless.
However with the wind in their sails in the final quarter, an unlikely victory seemed within their reach.
Williamstown kicked 3.3 in the final term to Werribee’s zero, but were ultimately beaten by the siren with the win right in their grasp.
Despite the loss, the team will take great confidence into the first week of the finals after impressive performances from plenty of key players.
Willie Wheeler lead from the front, weaving into every contest and registering a team-high 25 disposals, alongside seven tackles.
Jaylon Thorpe reminded us of his goal kicking prowess, finishing the game as Williamstown’s only multiple goal scorer with two majors.
Ben Kennedy (19 touches, six tackles) and Liam Hunt (20 touches, six tackles) also delivered the ball beautifully through the middle.
McLarty was arguably best on ground for the Seagulls before finishing prematurely in the third - kicking 1.1, finding 14 touches and registering 21 hit outs in less than three quarters.
The club’s attention now turns to another battle of the west next weekend, where they will take on the second-placed Footscray Bulldogs at Whitten Oval in a qualifying final.