Tigers Wilt Under Willunga Pressure
Bottom-placed Yankalilla versus third-placed Willunga on Willunga’s home ground was always going to be a hard task for the visitors – and so it proved after a fairly even first quarter.
Haskett soccered the opening goal from the goal square one-minute into the first quarter to give the Demons a quick start but Yank retaliated through Wilson then scored a point to give the visitors the lead for the only time all day. Between the ten- and fifteen-minute marks Willunga’s centre dominance and forward pressure resulted in quick goals to Haskett, Renney, Bass and Renney again. To Yank’s credit they dug deep and with strong defence by Abbott, Ripon and King ran the ball forward where Tyllis goaled from the forward pocket boundary. Wilson worked hard and forced the ball towards the Tigers’ goal square where, after a scramble, James snapped a goal across his body to bring Yankalilla within 13 points of Willunga at quarter time.
Willunga took control in the second quarter and kicked seven goals to none. The debutante, Jake Shirvington and the experienced Bass and Mills palmed the ball with deadly accuracy and gave the Demons’ onballers first use. Hoffman kicked a long goal at the one-minute mark. Yank’s key defender, Joel Kay, played strongly and rebounded many attacks until Willunga players carried the ball end-to-end where Standfield kicked a smart goal. Darcy Scott and young Webb both dashed from the midfield and kicked majors for Willunga then Bass maintained his balance and poise to snap another from the goal square. From the resulting centre bounce Darcy Scott kicked the ball forward, ran downfield, roved the balls off hands and kicked his second to give the home side a five-goal lead at the long break.
The Tigers were determined in the premiership quarter to make Willunga work for their expected victory. Tyllis kicked the first goal of the quarter to set the tone. King and Kay both had opportunities, but on each occasion, their kicks were touched on the line. Any chance of a Yankalilla comeback was curtailed when, within ten minutes of half time, Hogben and Kay were injured and helped off the ground. Haskett scored Willunga’s first of the half at the twelve-minute mark but Yank’s Tyllis got it straight back when he roved behind a big pack and ran into an open goal. Superior rotations soon meant that Willunga developed an unstoppable momentum. Renney slammed home a major then classy Darcy Scott marked and converted. Bass’ set shot missed but from the kick-in he punched the ball to space where Hoffman ran onto the loose ball and converted. He kicked the next one too to give the home team a comfortable 14-goal lead at three quarter time.
The last quarter was everything the Willunga coaching staff could have hoped for: hard running, slick team work and goal conversion. It rained 6-pointers to Standfield (2), classy Darcy (2), Haskett (2), Miegel, Mills, Juckers and Renney. Three goals worth highlighting were Shirvington’s first-ever A-grade goal after marking a Hoffman kick at 30 metres; Johnny Cook’s first A-grade goal for the season in his first A-grade game for the season; and his brother Billy’s goal after drifting down from full-back. Yank’s only goal for the quarter, at the 30-minute mark, was slotted by Linke who marked a penetrating kick from Weir. Willunga’s 13-goal blitz resulted in a very long last quarter. Standfield’s final kick was in the air when the siren sounded. The resulting goal took Willunga’s score over 200 points and gave them a handy percentage boost in the fight for a double chance come finals’ time.