Werribee will be looking to make a strong statement about where its 2017 season is at when it squares off against Richmond at Frankston Park on Saturday.
Saturday, July 15
2pm at Frankston Park, Frankston
The Story So Far
Werribee bounced back from consecutive losses with a hard-fought win over Coburg last week and will be eager to make it two on the trot as it looks to shore up a finals spot in what remains a very open campaign.
It will face a stiff challenge in a Richmond outfit sitting one place above it on the ladder in fifth, the boys from Punt Road coming in off a run of four straight wins that includes a 49-point victory over Geelong in round nine and an 84-point thumping of the Northern Blues in round 10.
Despite Richmond’s hot run of form, Werribee can take confidence from the knowledge that its rival’s last defeat came when the two sides squared off at Beaconsfield’s Holm Park Reserve in round seven. In what proved to be a thrilling finish, Werribee held on for a five-point win after Richmond worked its way back from 22 points down deep in the third quarter.
- With Sam Wright and Lachlan Hansen named as possible inclusions, there is still some uncertainty as to the exact makeup of Werribee’s defence, but it is sure to face a stern test regardless of its composition. With 23 goals for the season and four in the round-seven clash, Ben Lennon has proved a potent force up forward for Richmond this year, while returning big man Ben Griffiths also has the potential to do damage in front of goal.
- Dom Brew’s 44 tackles in three weeks have made him the competition’s leading tackler in that time, and his 15 tackles against Coburg again saw him lead the way for Werribee with defensive pressure in the middle. Matt Hanson (12 tackles) and Ryan Clarke (10 tackles) were also impressive in that regard, though the Werribee coaching staff will no doubt be eager for a more even team contribution given Richmond’s Jacob Townsend and Jack Graham bring an equally adept tackling game.
- The move of Michael Sodomaco into the middle after half time against Coburg last week proved a revelation, the Werribee skipper crucial in his side’s change of fortunes through the third quarter after starting in defence. It’s not the first time this year he’s had a big impact in the midfield, as he was also instrumental in Werribee’s round-four win over the Casey Demons, so don’t be surprised to see him playing a similar role against Richmond should the need arise.
- Josh Corbett was forced to shoulder a big load in the absence of Nick Larkey last week and rose to the challenge admirably with four second-half goals. The Werribee faithful will be hoping for a repeat effort this week, and if Ben McKay can also hit the scoreboard, the duo could prove to be a powerful forward combination.
- With dimensions of 171m x 104m, Frankston Park is unusually long and narrow for a VFL venue, and Werribee will be hoping to use that to its advantage given Richmond is a side that likes to use the wings when pushing forward into attack.
The Bottom Line
This shapes as a hugely important and potentially season-defining game for Werribee. A win has the ability to elevate it into the top four, and while a loss won’t threaten its spot in the eight for the time being, it could prove costly given the month ahead includes tough games against powerful Box Hill, Port Melbourne, and Williamstown outfits. It hasn’t always made the most of its opportunities when pushing forward in recent weeks, while Richmond is a team renowned for converting its forward entries into scores, so strong defensive pressure and cleaner execution in front of goal could be the keys to a Werribee victory.