PHILLIP Island adapted well to seven or eight forced changes in the side that took on an improving Korumburra-Bena Giants at Korumburra on Saturday.
An unexpected change in the draw, previously a bye, was the main issue, with some players and their families already making holiday arrangements.
Among those missing from the line-up was key big man Cam Pedersen and it was Jason Tomada who stepped up seamlessly to take over the job in the ruck.
Young Jack Opitz came in for his first senior game and there were six or seven Under 18s guys in the side as well performing strongly in a different looking group.
Of course, there were the club’s stalwarts including Jaymie Youle, Zac Vernon, Max Blake up forward, and others, to build a good performance around.
Nevertheless, few would have reckoned on the dominance of Brendan Kimber.
Back in for only his second game, Kimber was at his brilliant best, creating opportunities on the ball and getting forward to kick six goals in an unstoppable display.
Once again, the Giants were good in general play, but as we’ve seen for most of the year, they simply didn’t have an obvious avenue to goal, especially with hit-up forward Daniel Willis missing this week.
The Giants did especially well in the second quarter, holding the Dogs to three with Josh Hargreaves, Zach Walker, Matt Lello continuing his good work down back, Joel Anthony with his strong attack on the ball, Josh Hill, Darcy Hargrave all competitive but the Island sprinted clear with eight goals in the third; Kimber figuring strongly.
The Island is flying on and off the field at the moment with funding soon to come through for a major upgrade to lighting, membership numbers expanding to the point where an extension of the social rooms is urgent and plans to put up nets at either end of the Cowes oval.
It’s all looking good for a club that plays such a key role in bringing the new and established elements of the Island community together week-after-week.
Bye round causes carnage
On Saturday, the West Gippsland Football Netball Competition was supposed to be having its bye round.
But with the three-week lockdown layoff, the league made the decision to play round 10 on the July 3 bye weekend.
It’s understood the decision divided clubs, as some were worried about the availability of players who had previously booked holidays for the weekend.
Other clubs were happy for the league to use the weekend as an extra round, as it meant everyone would get an equal amount of home games and finals would not have to be pushed back.
Most clubs had multiple players away on Saturday, with some stuck in other states. This meant, for some score lines, they weren’t a true reflection of the talent on West Gippsland teams.
But the availability of other players isn’t opposition teams’ fault, so they should be taking full credit for any virtuous results on Saturday. Players stuck in other states may have to quarantine for two weeks upon return to Victoria, meaning they’ll miss at least three weeks of football or netball.