By Sam Watson
WONTHAGGI held on for a two-point win against Morwell to continue its unbeaten start to the season.
The previous Saturday, the Power had the bye after a big win against Leongatha, so they were expecting to be fresh for their pursuit of a third straight win.
But from the opening bounce it seemed as if the week off had created more rust than fresh legs for the Power.
The match started as an extremely scrappy one and stoppages were occurring at an extremely high rate.
Both sides kicked two goals in the first term and two minor scores for Wonthaggi saw them take a small lead heading into the second term.
The flatness of the home side was addressed by coach Jarryd Blair at the first break, and they responded with a bit more intent in the following quarter.
Josh Bates and Mitch Hayes were both controlling each wing beautifully and they helped set up some classy inside entries that ended up in goals.
Jordan Staley was again providing a great target up forward and was also having a big impact pinch-hitting through the ruck.
Toma Huther was also playing a big role in the ruck, but despite his and Staley’s dominance, the Tigers were starting to get on top in the midfield.
After falling behind to the hosts, Morwell were able to peg a couple of goals back and bring the margin to eight points at half time.
Wonthaggi and Morwell would’ve been hoping the main break prompted them to hit their straps in the second half but that certainly wasn’t the case and a low scoring quarter followed.
Sloppy ball movement was partly to blame for the minimal scores, but the prevalence of both teams’ defence deserved some credit.
Flynn Anderson had a brilliant game down back for Wonthaggi and his ability to win the ball and rebound was damaging the Tigers badly.
Fergus O’Connor played well in defence but despite his and Anderson’s efforts, Morwell jagged a goal and a few points that saw them gain a one-point lead heading into the final term.
Luckily for the crowd at the Wonthaggi Recreation Reserve, the home side was ready to fire in the final quarter.
There were inside 50s galore for Power as they briefly got on top in the midfield battle, but it wasn’t resulting in major scores.
Six behinds went through for Wonthaggi, however, two classy goals saw them take an eight-point lead.
But with about three minutes to go, a costly turnover deep in defence allowed Morwell to waltz into an open goal and bring it back to just two points.
Luckily for Wonthaggi, repeat stoppages continued to occur and the siren finally sounded, drawing an end to the scrappy contest, and making Wonthaggi two-point victors.
This week Wonthaggi will face another big test when they travel to Maffra and Morwell will host Leongatha.
Full football coverage in this weeks edition of the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times.
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