ANYTIME an opposition coach looks up and sees the likes of Zac Vernon and Brendon Kimber lurking on the other team’s forward line, instead of doing the grunt work in the middle, he knows he’s got trouble.
It’s a luxury most teams simply could not afford.
But that was exactly the scenario on Saturday at Cowes, and from the outset, it was a mismatch that Nar Nar Goon never really came to terms with.
The weather was superb for footy, and for surfing too for that matter, with a moderate north-westerly wind wafting across the ground and it was some time before the teams settled into their work.
Phillip Island had more of the ball than Nar Nar Goon in the early minutes but with the Goon’s defenders, including the likes of Toby Sherer and Jake Blackwood doing a good job back there, and Tyler Payroli competing well against Kimber initially, it was some time before Daniel Bourke opened the Island’s account.
Jake Rose was linking up well out of defence for Nar Nar Goon, Daniel Galante was strong down there as well and onballer Mat Slattery was everywhere as the visitors held their own.
But Zac Vernon didn’t have a real match-up on the forward line and he was starting to create trouble for the defence, initially with his trademark clearance work and then with a great snap and goal… the ball getting wedged in one of those darn Cypress trees at the scoreboard end of the ground.
A good set of goalpost nets down there, or perish the thought, cutting down two trees, would sort out that time-wasting problem.
Nar Nar Goon had the answer this time with big man Mitchell Virtue hitting up a leading Troy Mcdermott who slotted a nice goal.
Back in the centre Nar Nar Goon’s Trigg, Hermann, Stevens and Slattery were opposed to Bourke, Youle, Andreatta and a busy Hayden Bruce. The Island won the next centre break and strong play by Cam Pedersen got the ball to Kimber on the run, snapping a point. But it was simply a starting point for the mercurial Bulldog who ultimately finished the day with six goals from many opportunities.
Great team play led to Finlay Cousins marking and his slick handpass to the running Pedersen resulted in a telling goal.
The next came through ‘Pencil’ Bruce who always seemed to be in the right place and Zac Vernon scored another two before the end of the quarter.
With three in the bag, Vernon was on his way to equalling his best senior goal tally of six, scored at Leongatha some years ago.
With the scores at six goals to one by the first change, it was ‘how far the Island’ against the fifth-placed Goons (now dropping to sixth).
Phillip Island played great team footy, kicking six, five, six and six goals a quarter to win by 116 points against good opposition.
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