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Willunga in the Winners’ Circle

Willunga won their first game of the season with a demolition of the visitors, Mt Compass. The Bulldogs kicked the first goal of the game through Connor at the one-minute mark after they moved the ball swiftly along the bottom wing. Unfortunately, it was their last 6-pointer of the match.

Sowter, on his return from a lengthy injury, kicked Willunga’s opening goal at the 6-minute mark of the quarter after slick teamwork between Sherry and Cam McDonald. The newcomer, Draper, kicked his first for the club when he slotted one from an acute angle: his goal gave the home side the lead. Bass was having a field day in ruck, knocking the ball to the advantage of Hutchens, Altus and Renney. Endersby and Tomas Vitkunas, and Collins and Mills, defended stoutly for their respective sides but it was Willunga who broke the shackles with goals to Altus and Sherry to give the home team a 21-point lead at quarter time.

Despite Mt Compass kicking with the slight breeze in the second quarter, it was Willunga who dominated kicking 5 goals 2 behinds to one point. Dumesny delivered the ball skilfully into the Demons’ forward lines: Draper and Amos fought hard to keep it there with courageous smothers. It took ten minutes of strong defensive work by both sides before the first goal of the quarter was kicked. Cam McDonald snaffled one from the square then Seb Hoeck nailed another a minute later. Willunga’s youngest player, Brady McDonald, had the unenviable task of standing the potentially match-winning Bulldog forward, Ziggy Vitkunas. His ability to run and jump with the champ allowed him to stop the key forward from dominating. The Hoeck brothers ran hard for Willunga and used the ball effectively. Tomas Vitkunas, Endersby and Hicks worked tirelessly for the Bulldogs and rebounded the ball repeatedly, only to have it powered back in by Hutchens, Altus and Dumesny. The Demons’ small forward, Hams, snuck a bouncing kick through heavy traffic and between the big sticks, then Draper stood tall, marked and goaled.

Neither side were able to play fast, open football in the premiership quarter. The tough, tight conditions brought out the best in Bekkers who crashed into opponents and rebounded the ball into Willunga’s forward lines with great vigour. He combined with Sherry to set up Cam McDonald who kicked a long goal then won a free with a strong tackle and moved the ball long and high to Bass who marked overhead and kicked accurately. Late in the quarter he ran through the centre, lowered his eyes and delivered the ball to Renney who chipped to Draper who marked and kicked truly. Mt Compass had a few chances to score but their kicks either fell short or went wide or were repelled by the Willunga defenders led by the new-comer Collins and the ever-reliable Mills.

Willunga won the last quarter 6 goals to nil. Ziggy Vitunas and a couple of his Mt Compass teammates were benched with injuries which allowed Willunga to run and carry more easily than they had all day. Bass continued to push the ball to the advantage of the Willunga on-ballers. Hams and Sherry got early majors for Willunga. Bass was on the receiving end of a Sherry pass and goaled then Dumesny and Seb Hoeck combined to drive the ball to a dangerous position: Draper read the ball off-hands and dribbled home his fourth. The hard-working Renney kicked a rare goal for the Demons. Sherry marked and kicked his fifth as the final siren sounded to give Willunga a 106-point victory and achieve their best four-quarter effort for the season. With several players due to return from injury over the next few weeks the Demons hope to push for a top 5 spot or to at least help determine which teams do or don’t play finals.

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