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Willunga Dominate the Premiership Quarter

Willunga Dominate the Premiership Quarter

Willunga Demons and Strathalbyn Roosters were both Round One winners and determined to go 2-0 up. Willunga had the home ground advantage but the conditions favoured favoured side – the sun shone, the turf was green and lush, and there was no wind advantage.

Willunga started strongly and controlled the opening 6 or 7 minutes. Beath kicked a minor score then the Scott brothers combined to set up Haskett who kicked truly. Clamp took a strong contested mark on the wing for Strath, passed to Beelitz then dashed forward to take a pack mark: he went back and kicked the visitors’ first goal of the afternoon. Directly from the centre bounce, a long kick gave him a chance to run and leap: he marked again but his kick drifted wide. Three minutes later Mason marked and kicked long to the square when Clamp held another strong mark and dobbed his second. The Roosters had turned the momentum in their direction. Hutchens, Burdett and Darcy Scott pulled it back in Willunga’s favour with hard running and creative ball use. Hutchens goaled then both defences locked down and it wasn’t until ten minutes later that Beath took a strong mark and kicked a wobbly one through the middle to give the home side a narrow lead at quarter time.

The second quarter was frustrating for both sides. Willunga dominated early but apart from a goal off-hands by Cook, who’d run from defence, the Demons’ forwards missed several opportunities to score majors. Half way through the quarter the momentum swung in Strath’s favour but they too were plagued by inaccuracy. They piled on a string of 5 behinds to give the home team a 9-point lead at half-time. Clamp again looked dangerous up forward and Mahains and T Redden defended stoutly for Strath. O’Grady, X Redden and Hobbs won a lot of the ball and drove the Roosters forward but Mills, L Scott and McDonald applied defensive pressure for the Demons. Hoffman ran hard and attacked the ball fiercely and led the Willunga attack. Cook, Hutchens and Bass moved the ball through the centre but their forwards couldn’t capitalise. Both coaches would have been frustrated at the long break.

The third quarter proved to be decisive. Willunga got on top after an arm wrestle for the first five minutes. Clarke found Jenner but his kicked drifted wide. Burdett took the kick in and pinpointed Cook outside 50 metres. He turned and delivered long to Hoffman who pumped the ball deep into the fifty where Standfield took a strong mark and goaled. Running the ball so smoothly from one end of the ground to the other, gave the Demons a confidence boost. Hutchens received a handball from Beath and hit Standfield on the lead. He kicked his second in a minute and brought the local crowd to life. Hutchens, Miegel and Renney combined from the resulting ball up and again found Standfield but his kick drifted off line. Two minutes later Bass, Miegel and Hutchens combined to give Hoffman a chance to mark. He did then kicked accurately. The flood gates opened. Bass gave his onballers a midfield advantage. Pacillo, playing with a broken finger, pushed through the pain and the midfield to drive the ball long to Colwell who marked and goaled. Tucker and Hall worked hard to stem the flow but the Demons had taken the game from the visitors. So fierce were the Demons that big Bass cleaned up one of his smaller teammates, ran clear and goaled from the square. Colwell kicked Willunga’s 6th unanswered goal for the quarter.

The game was over but Strath had pride to play for and they outscored Willunga in the final quarter. The Demons scored the opening goal within a minute when Bass tapped to Hutchens on the run and he spotted up Hoffman who went back and kicked accurately. Strath dug deep for the next 15 minutes. Clamp marked and passed to 10 who goaled for Strath then X Clarke and Elliot used creative handball to put the ball into Jenner’s hands. His kick split the middle. Butler, who had played a good game across halfback, went forward and repeatedly found the ball. He kicked 1 goal 4 behinds within a 5-minute burst. His misses were all from mid-range and on his favoured left foot. Willunga finally got the ball forward. Beath missed a set shot, then Haskett, produced a slick off-the-outside-of-his-boot pass to find Standfield. He marked and goaled to halt Strath’s momentum. Haskett kicked another after slick running play by Hutchens, Pacillo and Beath. Strath dug deep one last time. Redden and Jenner delivered the ball to Elliot whose goal brought the difference back to 40 points at the final siren.

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