Round 17 saw us host Williamstown at home. Given the rain deluge all week, we were treated to wet, heavy and sluggish conditions. Having won our last three, we were looking to continue our winning momentum and keep our slim finals chances alive.
The first quarter was a tightly fought contest. Both teams had control at certain stages but some sloppy ball use meant we failed to capitalise when we had momentum. We took a one point lead into the quarter time break. The second quarter was extremely frustrating. Williamstown were out working us, controlled the contest and we seemed really flat and struggle to generate any energy and momentum. Luckily our defence was holding up and limited Williamstown’s scoreboard impact. We conceded two goals and kicked one ourselves to see us trailing by 8 points at the major break.
At halftime we addressed a few things around our contest work and the way we were moving the ball. We knew it was a big day for our club and we were disappointed with how we played in the first half. Having trailed at halftime the previous two weeks, we had enormous belief that we could turn things around.
Again our third quarter was flat. To Williamstown’s credit they dominated stoppage and were killing us on transition. Again our backs held up well and limited the damage on the scoreboard. The last five minutes of the third quarter was a real momentum swing. We started to win more of the ball and our work rate increased dramatically. We kicked a couple of late goals which saw us still only trailing by 8 points at the final break.
The last quarter saw us play the best footy we had all day. Our leaders set the tone with Jake Williams and Hugh Nicholson lifting around the ball and we were able to generate some momentum. This enabled us to play large portions of the quarter in our front half and put pressure on the opposition. Our forward line looked dangerous and we were able to have scoreboard impact. Again though, Williamstown came back at us and put us under enormous pressure. We managed to kick 4 goals while only conceding 1, to see us come away with an ugly 8 point win.
That makes it four wins in a row and we now look forward to our Round 18 clash against top of the table Uni Blacks. We have kept our season alive, and are fully aware of the situation we find ourselves in heading into the final round. We will embrace this and look forward the huge challenge next weekend.