Demons Defeat Mudlarks
Third generation Willunga footballer, Brad Haskett played his 250th senior game on Saturday and his teammates gave their all to ensure he was carried off his home ground a winner. The strong wind made kicking difficult at times during the first half but that doesn’t explain why Willunga’s goal kicking was wayward throughout the game. They had 12 more scoring shots but only won by 12 points.
Willunga drove the ball into attack early but it took until the 9th minute mark before Standfield kicked the first goal of the game courtesy of a free kick. Sam Kennedy got it back for the visitors when he read the ball off-hands from a Flintham kick and snapped truly. Ogilvie and Hedger were outstanding in defence for Myponga-Sellicks and ran the ball out with pinpoint accuracy. But good teamwork from Nelson and Juckers got the ball into Hutchens’ hands and his long kick sailed through the big uprights for the Demons. Jayden Scott took some spectacular marks for the Mudlarks and one of those resulted in a goal. He scored his team’s third major a minute later after a quick kick out of the centre found him unopposed 20 metres from goal.
Willunga took back the lead early in the second quarter with two quick goals. Warmington moved the ball to Bass. He was held, freed and kicked the first then Burdett and Darcy Scott combined to give Warmington an opportunity – he kicked truly. Ben Kennedy was everywhere for the Mudlarks and he set up many opportunities with his clean takes and accurate disposal. Ahmat-Watkins and Flintham were hard at the ball. They forced it to Ben Kennedy who won a free kick and brought up a major to bring the Mudlarks back to within a kick. Hedger was sensational in defence and took several one-on-one marks throughout the afternoon. Both sides tackled fiercely and kept the pressure on the opposition forwards but eventually it was Willunga that broke the defensive line. Stanfield marked and chipped over the top to Haskett who was running into an open goal. He got a cruel bounce but just as the ball was about to cross the goal line, he gained control and got a handball back to Nelson who booted it through for a major. Two minutes later Nelson repaid the favour when he set up Standfield 45-metres from goal. A 50-metre penalty made a certainty of the 6 points and gave Willunga a 15-point lead at halftime.
The Mudlarks kicked the first of the premiership quarter. A long pinpoint Ben Kennedy pass found Ahmat-Watkins who went back and goaled. Five minutes later, Sam Kennedy also passed to Ahmat-Watkins and again he goaled. Hedger continued his great defensive work and Kempster produced a brave smother but eventually a Darcy Scott spoil and an Altus take off-hands gave him space to manoeuvre: his 40-metre kick split the middle. The remainder of the quarter was a tough scrap and when the three-quarter time siren sounded, Willunga held a 7-10 to 6-3 lead.
Willunga won the last quarter but again the Demons’ inaccuracy gave the Mudlarks a sniff of victory. Willunga’s cause was not helped by the fact that they had three players off injured and Tregenza on one leg in the forward pocket. Warmington was everywhere and Juckers, Mills and Hutchens lifted to the occasion. It was a long kick by Bass to the goal square that allowed Juckers to run and jump and pull down a screamer. His first goal for Willunga was greeted by a rush off teammates. Clarke battled hard for Myponga-Sellicks, and Jayden Scott continued to run and jump for marks. Sampson and Clarke were both unlucky not to be given frees within range of goals but the call of Play-on allowed Willunga to clear. Late goals to Ben Kennedy and Ahmat-Watkins brought the margin back to 12 points at the final siren. Both teams will take positives out of the game which was played to a high standard and in good spirit.