WEST Gippsland dominated the pristine country football ground at Yarragon on Saturday, defeating Ellinbank by 73 points.
Yarragon set the stage for a highly anticipated match between the local Ellinbank side and the West Gippsland visitors.
Running out onto the field it was obvious the West Gippsland team were a head and shoulders above their opposition.
Getting under way in the 20C autumn heat, the pace was hot from the first bounce, starting with West Gippsland kicking the first three goals.
Though Ellinbank put in a strong effort reining back the lead, kicking three of their own in the first.
Ellinbank came in seven points down at the first break.
Starting off Ellinbank were competitive around the ground, their more traditional style of football was practical early on, challenging West Gippsland who weren’t yet at their best.
Ellinbank were able to convert with a high level of efficiency in the second term, the scoreboard was yet to represent West Gippsland’s dominance.
Ellinbank’s Russ Lehman from Longwarry was dominating, instrumental around the ground, particularly moving forward, until mid-way through the second when West Gippsland tagged him with Dalyston’s midfielder Clay Tait whose defensive role was impressive.
Going into the long break West Gippsland were just under three goals up.
Though West Gippsland took some time to really find their feet, the third quarter was some of the best football seen at a local level for years.
The tide turned when West Gippsland’s many talented footballers realised that this was not their ordinary club football, talent was deep around the field.
West Gippsland’s high-class footballers became aware they could find near-certain reliability in their team-mates and began to work together.
The over-lay handball was a smart strategy that saw West Gippsland remove the ball from pressure towards an open kick.
Heath Briggs, the Cora Lynn and Casey listed onballer, really fired up in the second half, moving with consistent pace and great agility, this 18-year-old footballer showed great understanding of the game.
Playing with Under 19 Vic Country teammate Bailey Patterson from Korumburra, they linked together like the professionals they may become.
From defence, West Gippsland captain Dylan Clark was a force in the backline, moving the ball out with great delivery often following.
Ellinbank’s midfielders Jack Hazendock from Poowong and Paul Pattinson from Catani were two of their best on the ball, but Ellinbank fell a little short when these prime movers were interchanging.
West Gippsland’s depth in the middle was impressively consistent.
Jason Wells from Koo Wee Rup kicked two in the third and the fourth, a total of four goals.
Fellow Koo Wee Rup Demon, Nathan Voss kicked three, all in the third term.
Stacking on seven goals in the third, West Gippsland were up 53 points at the final break, Ellinbank scored just one goal in the third term.
In the second half West Gippsland out numbered their opponents scoreing shots 22 to four, with five goals eight points in the final term, this was a sign of their strength.
Coach Mark Lafferty was impressed that all players had an input on the game and said although finding a player that was dominant for the full game, Jake Weigthman from Bass was one of the most consistent.
The organisation and professional display West Gippsland put on was led by their coaching arrangement, Dalyston coach Mark Lafferty, David Main from Cora Lynn and Brent Clinnick from Phillip Island both assistant coaches and team manager Bruce Clark from Inverloch.
Ellinbank football operation manager Ken Moore was not overly surprised by the outcome and found the day to be have a great turn out, with the gate takings over $4000.
He suggested next year they would likely opt for the seeding draw if nothing closer is available.
West Gippsland win big