McLaren Down Demons
Updated: Aug 19
Mclaren Vale travelled to local rival Willunga’s home ground for a battle of two undefeated teams – and came away victorious.
The Vale got off to a flier and had three goals on the scoreboard before the Demons realised the siren had sounded. Grimley kicked the first two from close to goals then Branson the third while running through the fifty and kicking long and straight. Altus kicked Willunga’s first after forcing a ball-up then reading Bass’s tap to space, running clear and kicking accurately. Two minutes later, Scott marked strongly across half-back then linked with Beath to get the ball to Lee whose precision pass allowed Martin to mark and goal. Altus, who’d played an outstanding quarter, kicked Willunga’s equaliser when he roved a ball off-hands and kicked truly around his body. Five minutes of intense defence followed before Mutton put the visitors ahead with a late first quarter goal.
The second quarter was a tight tussle which Willunga won two goals to one to give them a 2-point lead at half-time. But there were ominous signs of a McLaren resurgence because Ellis lifted his intensity in that quarter and helped McLarens stay in the game. When everyone else was pressured and running frantically, he pushed through tackles, emerged from packs and delivered the ball with precision to teammates. Wakefield got an early goal for the visitors before Willunga countered through the classy Lee who snapped from an impossible angle. Bentley, Fenoughty and Mutton worked hard for McLarens and Burdett, Reid and Scott were resolute in Willunga’s defence. A Reid spoil when he seemed well out-of-position, saved what appeared to be a certain McLaren goal. Zohar and Branson defended stoutly for the visitors before the class of Burdett and Bass set up a marking opportunity for Martin who kicked accurately to give Willunga a 2-point lead at half time.
The third quarter was a goal-fest: Willunga kicked 5 and McLarens 4. Altus and Warmington ran hard and used their skills to set up Lee who kicked his third but Wakefield and McKay put McLarens back in front.
Ellis and Gill kicked long behinds for the visitors before a strong mark by Scott facilitated Martin’s third goal for Willunga. Beath kicked another 2-minutes later then Billy and Johnny Cook combined to allow Billy to goal.
Willunga had the momentum despite Green and Goodieson’s strong defence. When Bass marked and was awarded a 50-metre penalty from which he goaled, Willunga looked set to run away with the game. But two fifty metre penalties against Bass, from which one goal was scored, changed the momentum. A foul-after-disposal awarded to Bass allowed the Demons to run free and goal. The hard-working Gill kicked one for McLaren to put them within a goal at three-quarter time.
The last quarter was a cliff-hanger. Ellis rose above the stalemate. He ran clear of the congestion, steadied and goaled. Mutton and Gill missed opportunities for McLarens then the game became an arm wrestle for the next 15-minutes. Ellis again showed his class and poise. He gave to Marr but his long shot just missed. Zohar marked strongly and allowed Wakefield to goal at the 20-minute mark and gave McLaren, what appeared to be, a narrow match-winning lead.
The final 3-minutes saw the lead seesaw. Lee goaled to bring Willunga within a kick. From the resulting centre bounce, the ball was kicked long to a huge pack 20-metres from Willunga’s goal. When the big men landed it was Lee holding the ball aloft. He went back and coolly goaled with less than a minute remaining. The ball was bounced. The Vale were awarded a free. Bass dashed into defence to block the hole. The ball was long to him unopposed and 15-metres out from his defensive goal square but another off-the-ball free was awarded to the visitors. Grimley went back and slotted the goal to give McLaren Vale victory on the final siren.
Written by Alan Tucker, Photographs by Ashleigh Carey and brought to you by Trove Property Management