Wayward kicking has cost Werribee dearly in its season-opening clash against Geelong in Torquay, the Tigers going down by 25 points after some shaky shooting for goal in the first half.
Spring Creek Reserve served up cool, calm conditions for the annual K rock Cup and the Tigers’ first home game on the road, but they were unable to capitalise on the favourable weather despite dominating the play early, managing just 2.14 across the first half to trail the slightly steadier Cats by 13 points at the main break.
A low-scoring third term saw Geelong extend the margin to 18 at the final change, and with just 11 goals kicked in the game to that point, the match was shaping as a fizzer.
But the tone shifted dramatically through the last quarter as both sides found their kicking boots and took the game on, the Cats prevailing in the ensuing shootout with 7.3 to the Tigers’ six straight.
While it was largely inaccuracy in front of goal that brought Werribee undone, senior coach John Lamont said his side was also hurt by the manner in which it used the ball.
“We had plenty of inside 50 opportunities, but our ball movement going inside 50 wasn’t what we were looking for,” said Lamont.
“We just didn’t play well enough. We overused the footy, so that’s something we’re going to work on during the week to try to tidy up.”
Despite the disappointment of the first-up loss, there were plenty of individual positives for the Werribee to salvage.
On a day where goals were largely hard to come by, Ryan Clarke was the standout in front of the sticks with 4.1, while Ed Vickers-Willis was supreme down back, his 32-possession haul including a whopping 15 in the second term.
Matt Hanson (30 disposals and nine clearances) and captain Michael Sodomaco (25 disposals and one goal) were also prolific ball winners, while Declan Mountford kept the defensive pressure on with a team-high 10 tackles to go with his 25 touches.
In his VFL debut, 23rd man Max Augerinos was also a very solid contributor, kicking the opening goal of the game and going on to finish with 16 disposals and three clearances.
The Tigers will now look towards their Round 2 encounter with Footscray at VU Whitten Oval on Saturday.
Werribee: 1.7 2.14 4.15 10.15 (75)
Geelong: 1.3 5.9 7.13 14.16 (100)
Ryan Clarke 4, Sodomaco, Josh Williams, Nick Larkey, Cam Zurhaar, Max Augerinos, Mason Wood
Ed Vickers-Willis, Ryan Clarke, Michael Sodomaco, Matt Hanson, Declan Mountford, Jed Anderson