Barwon Heads and Drysdale met in a crucial Round 14 game, which was going to have an immediate impact on the top 5 positions in windy conditions on Saturday. Barwon Heads made 3 changes to the side that defeated Portarlington last week. Sam Evans returned from injury, Nick Avery was named for his first senior game and James Wills was promoted from the reserves. Out of the side went Mitch Gaunt with injury, BJ missed through illness and Dylan O’Leary was omitted.
Barwon Heads had the strong wind at their back and it was evident very early that this was going to be a fierce contest from two very committed sides. Brad Harvey took a strong contested mark to kick the opening goal and minutes later he snapped his second to give early momentum to the Seagulls. Brock Close was dominant in the ruck and onballers Ned Aulsebrook, Otto Opperman, Ryan Harvey and James Wills were fanatical with their attack on the ball. Unfortunately a lot of their good work was being frittered away with inaccuracy in front of goal but conditions were very challenging. Matty Dyer was very influential in his defensive forward role and Benny Stephens, Mitch Phelps and Noah Young were all busy players. Mitch Herbison kicked consecutive goals as he looked dangerous up forward but Drysdale were able to kick an important goal against the wind as they continued to defend grimly. Ned Aulsebrook snapped the Heads fifth major from the boundary as his kick floated in the wind to just land over the line. At quarter time a dominant quarter with 17 scoring shots only resulted with 5.12, but the Heads had made a strong statement with their aggressive start.
Drysdale now had the strong wind at their backs and it was going to be a great test for our defenders. Kyle Polley and Lachlan Slorach were given the big jobs of playing on Drysdale’s key forwards Jarrod Garth and Mathew Hebbard, and they were both embracing their roles. The experienced Sam Evans was marshalling our defence and Zac Walter, J-Mac, Michael Philp and Matty Beckwith were all defending well under pressure. Drysdale kept attacking but they also found accuracy in front of goal a challenge as they kicked 3.7 with their shots on goal. When the half time siren sounded, the Heads led by 2 goals after a bruising two quarters of football with a finals intensity.
Drysdale came out strong in the third quarter and had a strong start, although Brad Harvey kicked his third goal after a long bomb from 60 metres. Drysdale kicked an important goal into the wind as the game was up for grabs as the quarter ticked over to the 15 minute mark. Nick Avery delivered a solid hip and shoulder to Teven Nofi which resulted in a free kick and a yellow card, but this incident seemed to spark the Seagulls into action. Brad Harvey kicked his fourth and Vice Captain Damien Horbury came to life to snap two goals. Braeden Eddy was prolific in the midfield and he bombarded the goals but unluckily kicked 4 behinds. Chris Martin was having an influence up forward, and the Heads through their run and carry were starting to open the contest and this resulted in Phelpsy snapping a great goal across his body as the Seagulls held a 45 point lead at the last break.
Drysdale now had the wind and they kicked an opening goal to reduce the margin but the seagulls defence with Kizza, Socks and Zac outstanding were providing plenty of rebound. Strawbs kicked an important goal into the wind and soon added another to consolidate our lead. Brock Close was continuing to have a strong impact and the Heads had consistent contributors all over the ground. Drysdale were looking a bit wounded as they lost players through injury and even though they added two more goals for the quarter, Strawbs kicked his fifth and Dogga his first after a strong contested mark as the Seagulls ran out convincing 51 point victors and record their fifth consecutive victory and jump to second on the ladder.
Barwon Heads 14.24 (108) defeated Drysdale 8.9 (57)
GOALKICKERS : Horbury 5, Brad Harvey 4, Herbison 2, Phelps 1, Dyer 1, Aulsebrook 1
BEST PLAYERS : Polley, Slorach, Horbury, Close, Walter, Ryan Harvey
RESERVES WIN CRUCIAL CLASH
Barwon Heads Reserves won a crucial game against Drysdale as both sides entered the clash on 9 wins and the reward for the winner was a spot in the top 3 and a game break on the loser. Drysdale led early and clearly looked the better side in the first half and led by 9 points at half time. Barwon Heads made their charge in the third quarter but when they restricted Drysdale to only 2 goals with the wind but importantly were able to kick 2 crucial goals into the wind to only trail by 8 points at three quarter time with the wind at their backs. The team lifted with the sniff of victory and key forwards TP and the Fridge both kicked multiple goals to hit the lead. Defenders Billy Pelham and Lloyd McIntyre were inspirational and ruckmen Big Red and Oscar “sticky fingers” Young gave onballers Peter Swinton, Hugh “excitement machine” O’Brien, Shaun Harmer, Zav Everett, Dylan “the rock” O’Leary and Chris Varsamakis first use as the boys lifted with 6 final quarter goals to win impressively by 17 points.
Barwon Heads 11.10 (76) defeated Drysdale 9.5 (59)
GOALKICKERS : Pocock 2, Kinsey 2, Michell 1, Sam Everett 1, Dylan O’Leary 1, Xavier Everett, Varsamakis, McMahon
BEST PLAYERS : O’Brien, Pelham, D.O’Leary, X.Everett, Varsamakis, McIntyre
Barwon Heads now hits the road for the next two weeks with away games against the ever improving Newcomb and top 5 placed Anglesea. Let’s hope we see plenty of support at these games because the players really appreciated the vocal home crowd yesterday.