INVERLOCH-Kongwak confirmed its status as a genuine premiership contender in 2016 with an impressive 34-point victory over another flag hopeful, Kilcunda-Bass at Bass on Saturday.
The result in the ‘match of the day’ means that there are now four teams on six wins, in equal second place on the ladder, snapping at the heels of Foster on seven wins after they comfortably despatched the Allies.
On a windy day, not ideally suited to the main goal-kicking forwards on either team, Lucas McMillan of IK or Kael Bergles of Killy-Bass, it was nonetheless the efforts of Bergles’ opponent, William Nye, who went a long way to setting up the win for IK.
After kicking 16 goals the previous week, Bergles was the most watched man on the ground but he managed just three out of Killy–Bass’ six goals on the day.
Nye often ran Bergles up the ground and out of position as he worked to be an extra man in transition for IK and the effort told on Bergles.
Of course Nye was well backed up by a winning defensive unit, featuring Xavier Hughes in an impressive debut and a very good on-ball unit which included the likes of Adam Cross in great form, Josh Clottu, Daniel Reid and Craig O’Reilly pitted against the highly credentialed Panthers’ on-ballers including Ryan Fitzgerald, Chris Endres and co.
IK won the ‘first use’ contest throughout appearing to have more replacement depth through the middle than Killy-Bass.
In the absence of IK’s two ruckman Brad Hender and Clint McCaughan; Santo Joma filled the breach well against big Ben Law and the up-and-comer Riley Scapin.
Santo provided a good contest at centre bounces and throw-ins but it was when the ball hit the deck that he played like an extra on-baller to get the ball going IK’s way.
The Sea Eagles started well, kicking six goals with the wind and managed two goals to Killy-Bass’ three into the wind in the second quarter; Lucas McMillan and Tom McQualter getting those vital scores.
The writing was on the wall for KB at half time but it was IK which went on with it in the third; kicking four goals to one via Tom Wyatt (2) and Cross.
The quarter featured a melee after IK’s O’Reilly was caught high with Law being yellow carded after an incident that followed but IK continued to lead KB to the ball.
Bergles pulled one back before the last change and they still gave themselves a chance at the final huddle. Their challenge gained some momentum when Cochrane and Scapin got early goals but IK closed the game down with fierce tackling and commitment and while they didn’t get another goal themselves, they did more than enough to close down Killy-Bass’ fight-back.
The performance was clearly IK’s best for the year and they would have been very happy with the strong contributions all over the ground.
Full coverage of the weekends football in this weeks edition of the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times.
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