THE Reserves set the scene for a thrilling first day of footy at Dalyston on Saturday with the lead see-sawing throughout the match until Rob Linford put the Island in front halfway through the last quarter.
Dale Brown and Andrew Wallis of Dalyston both had chances to redress the balance but the Island managed to hold on and win by two points.
This cleared the way for the eagerly anticipated start to a new-look season for two teams who have built up a heated rivalry in the past few years.
Saturday’s contest was no different; tough and tight from start to finish.
Clay Tait and Blake Carew combined well early to get the ball to Michael Kraska for the first score of the season, a point but it was sometime before either side could score a goal with both defences on top.
The Island’s Brodie Anderson almost knocked the goal post over with a powerful kick for goal but it was Simon Pimm who opened the Island’s account.
Chris Graham replied for the Magpies and it was game-on when Pimm got his second before the first break.
The Island had the lead at the first huddle but then Kraska cut loose in the second term to kick three of the four Dalyston goals for the quarter in vintage style.
One of his shots from tight on the boundary was expertly fashioned to take a leg break in front of the major opening. He looked set to have one of his big days out but despite other chances, he remained stuck on three for the match.
Michael Harris was the other goal scorer for Dalyston for the second quarter and while the Island pulled two back and were giving plenty in general play, the break Dalyston was able to establish here was telling in the final analysis.
Leigh Warne, Shaun Everington, Jarrod Witnish and Shane Taylor had all started well for the Island, while Chris Graham, Clay Tait, Blake Carew and Darcy Brosnan had started well for the Magpies.
A few ‘spot fires’ broke out at times but it didn’t amount to much and the teams let their footy do the talking in an entertaining first match, marred slightly as a spectacle by the wind.
One downside was the leg injury to former Island coach Brendan Kimber, not an ACL as suspected but some sort of medial injury expected to see him side-lined for six weeks.
Prior to the game, Dalyston coach Paul Brosnan said the club was looking forward to what the new league might bring.
“Prior to the match between Inverloch and Cora Lynn last week, you got the impression that the former Ellinbank clubs thought we might just be making up the numbers down here.
“But we’re genuinely interested in taking on the challenge with no preconceived ideas. It’s an exciting prospect and I think we’re seeing a new level of supporter interest as well.”
It certainly helps when you start with a win.
Full football coverage in this weeks edition of the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times.
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