Werribee gave its faithful a Father’s Day present to remember, knocking out reigning premiers Box Hill, to record its sixth triumph on the trot and first finals victory as a standalone club since 1998.
In front of a packed North Port Oval crowd, the boys in Black and Gold weathered Melbourne’s changing and at times treacherous conditions, as it successfully completed a 49-point turnaround to secure a semi-final date with Essendon.
Werribee: 3.3 4.3 10.7 12.9 (81)
Box Hill: 1.0 5.5 5.7 5.10 (40)
Werribee: J. Bennett 3, T. House 2, M. Munro 2, J. Maishman, M. Hanson, K. Declase, J. Henderson, B. Malual
Box Hill: J. Koschitzke 2, O. Hanrahan, L. Meadows, V. Adduci
Werribee: D. Nielson, T. Gribble, D. Brew, M. Hanson, N. Coughlan, J. Bennett
Box Hill: J. Cousins, O. Hanrahan, D. Mirra, L. Meadows, K. Brand, S. Horner
HOW IT HAPPENED
The calendar flicked over to September, the spring sun was beaming down, and the temperature gauge was pushing 18 degrees.
A full strength Werribee outfit welcomed three-time best and fairest winner Matt Hanson back into the fold after a lengthy stint on the sidelines.
Thirty seven seconds elapsed and Werribee was on the board courtesy of a clever rove and snap from Jack Henderson. A herculean opening term from full-back Dan Nielson in his 50th VFL match set the tone for Mark Williams’ side, with his ferocity and aerial dominance a sight to behold.
Dangerous goalkicker Joel Bennett lived up to his reputation, booting back-to-back majors, before Box Hill finally got on the board as the quarter time siren sounded. The feel among the Werribee camp was that the scoreboard didn’t truly reflect their dominance.
A flying Timm House brought down a spectacular mark in front of goal and duly converted. But last year’s premiers clicked into gear, took their chances and booted four unanswered goals to take an eight-point advantage into the main break.
Spring’s glorious start quickly turned predictably south, as dark wintery clouds moved in with the odd rumbling of thunder and lightning, accompanied by a band of heavy rain.
But after four goals in the opening dozen minutes of the third term, it appeared nothing would get in the way of this deeply determined Werribee outfit, as it piled on six majors to nil to head for home with a 30-point lead.
With the previous day’s remarkable final term comeback by Richmond over Essendon still fresh in the minds of some, the Hawks weren’t to be discounted.
Fortunately, the wind died down, conditions settled and Werribee’s impeccable team defence remained resolute as the boys in Black and Gold ran out 41-point victors, and kept Box Hill goalless from the 24th minute mark of the second quarter.
Defenders Dan Nielson and Nick Coughlan were impassable and ably aided by Ryan Hebron, Max Spencer and Louis Pinnuck, while midfielders Hanson and Tom Gribble were instrumental despite Box Hill’s ruck dominance.
Tom Gribble: 28 disposals (17 contested), six inside-50s, six clearances, 109 ranking points
Nick Coughlan: 22 disposals, (20 kicks), 13 rebound-50s, 10 marks, 111 ranking points
Joel Bennett: Three goals, 12 disposals, five marks, two tackles, 85 ranking points
Matt Hanson: 22 disposals, eight clearances, four tackles, a goal, 119 ranking points
Daniel Nielson: 13 disposals, three rebound-50s, two contested marks, 100 ranking points
Semi-Final vs Essendon
Adcon Stadium, Port Melbourne
Sunday September 8, 2.10pm