Demons Overpower Defensive Eagles
Willunga kicked against a slight breeze in their first home game of the season against Encounter Bay. The home team were seeking to bounce back after a loss in round two and the Bays were looking for their first win of the season.
The Demons were determined to start the match at high intensity after conceding early goals in their first two matches. The Bays were determined not to concede early goals and so stacked their back lines. The Demons’ Lee and Colwell won many early possessions and used them well. They combined to bring up the first score of the match – a behind. The first goal of the game came through Altus after a pinpoint pass from Colwell. The Bays opening score – also a behind – came from a strong mark by Jelinek. Davis created opportunities for the visitors and the Tonkin brothers alongside Hills, defended stoutly. Scott, Tregenza and Messenger were firm in defence for Willunga and rebounded repeatedly. Eventually Bass found space, marked and kicked Willunga’s second.
The second quarter proved the highest scoring of the match: five goals to Willunga, two to Encounter Bay. Renney kicked the first for the home side after intercepting a kick-out. He followed it up two minutes later after Bass won a ball in the centre square and slammed it forward where Jed Redden and Beath combined to put the ball into Renney’s safe hands. Beath made it three in a row when he converted a difficult snap around his body. The Bays scored their first major of the game at the 7-minute mark when Pepper took a strong mark 50-metres out and kicked a booming punt that split the middle. They scored back-to-back goals when Jelinek and Hamish Tonkin ran the ball forward: Crispin was outnumbered three to one but used his athleticism to snaffle a ground ball, run free and kick accurately. Lee got it immediately back for the Demons then the Bays missed a sitter after being awarded a 50-metre penalty. Pepper and Middleton had chances for additional goals but failed to convert. Willunga’s Haskett and Bass combined to drive the ball long to Lee. He marked, gave to Renney who passed to Sherry whose kick split the middle.
Willunga took a 34-point lead into the premiership quarter and extended it to 49 points by three quarter time. Beath kicked Willunga’s first goal one minute into the quarter when he was run down from behind but ridden into the ground and awarded a free kick fifteen metres out, dead in front. When the Bays went forward Willunga’s Scott competed fiercely, marked strongly and rebounded several attacks. Christophers and Pepper looked dangerous in attack for the Bays when the ball got past Scott but they failed to convert opportunities. Lippett, Hills and Crispin battled valiantly but the visitors could only manage two behinds for the quarter. Defensive pressure was excellent by both teams. Defenders applied a succession of courageous smothers to stop their opponents from kicking the ball forward. The Demons’ skipper, Altus, kicked his second to give the home team a match winning lead.
Drizzle fell throughout the final quarter. Encounter Bay handled the slippery conditions better that the Demons and won the quarter by 11 points to reduce their final losing margin to 6 goals 1 behind. Hills, Lippett and Brown got the ball rolling the Bays way. Middleton was on the receiving end of their hard work and made the most of his opportunity. He failed to convert a second chance but the Bays locked the ball in their forward lines and eventually Crispin was freed. He went back and kicked another major for the visitors. Hills won a disputed ball on the wing, side-stepped two opponents and moved it to Lippett but the Willunga defence stood strong. Scott rebounded and put the ball into a dangerous spot where Sherry was taken high, awarded a free and kicked accurately from 35-metres. Scarvelis, Baxter and Davis combined with Middleton to move the ball quickly to Fraser Tonkin who kicked the Bays third for the quarter. Willunga have lost their last two last quarters and will need to improve on that deficiency before their next game against Mt Compass.