Werribee faces a tough assignment against premiership contender and traditional rivals Williamstown at Burbank Oval on Sunday.
Sunday, August 13
11am and 2pm at Burbank Oval, Williamstown
The Story So Far
The equation is simple for Werribee this weekend: win or risk dropping out of the top eight with just two weeks of the home-and-away season remaining. While the Tigers can still work their way back into finals contention if the result doesn’t go their way on Sunday, notching a win would go a long way to ensuring they see September action.
To do that, they’ll need to overcome the in-form team of the competition. Williamstown currently sits half a game off top spot but heads the form ladder with a run of five straight wins.
It wasn’t Werribee’s night when it faced off against Williamstown under lights at Avalon Airport Oval in round five last year, the home side going down by 74 points on the back of a first-quarter Seagull onslaught. It’s a result the Tigers won’t be placing too much stock in, however, their fortunes and playing ranks having changed significantly in the more than a year since.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the presence of Ben Jolley, with the Williamstown skipper set to reach a rare milestone this weekend when he plays his 250th VFL game. Werribee will be celebrating a milestone of its own as defender Nathan Laracy plays his 100th club game in the Development League match.
• Young gun Tristan Xerri made a stellar debut for Werribee last weekend and seemed to thrive on the challenge of rucking against Collingwood big man Mason Cox on the big stage of Etihad Stadium. He’ll get the opportunity to take on another of the VFL’s big challenges this weekend in Nick Meese, the Williamstown ruckman having racked up a whopping 94 hitouts in the Seagulls’ recent win over Footscray.
• The Werribee midfield will need to produce a big shut-down role against its Williamstown counterpart. The Seagulls midfield is among the most effective ball-winning outfits in the competition, the likes of Jolley, Michael Gibbons, Willie Wheeler, Adam Marcon, and Brett Bewley creating a formidable combination.
• While Williamstown’s tall backline can be difficult to match up on, it also presents an opportunity for lead-up forwards such as Josh Corbett, Tom Ellard, and Matt Munro, who can use their acceleration to drag their opponent out and open things up for the likes of Lachlan Hansen and Lindsay Thomas.
• A big part of Williamstown’s success this season is its record at home. The Seagulls are 7-1 at Burbank this year and play the ground particularly well, though Werribee also has the ability to use the width of the ground and the typically windy conditions to its advantage with its running game.
The Bottom Line
The prospect of Williamstown at home is a daunting one for any VFL team at the moment, but Werribee’s speed gives it a big advantage. The Seagulls midfield has built its reputation on its ability to win the inside ball rather than its turn of foot, so if the Tigers can get numbers around the ball inside defensive 50, they are a real chance to hurt their opponents with their run out of the backline. Also working in Werribee’s favour is the fact Williamstown is currently ranked 10th in the competition for kicking efficiency – unusually low for a side with its record – giving the Tigers a big opportunity if they can clamp down on the Seagulls with their pressure acts.