Werribee endured a forgettable day out at Frankston Park on Saturday, going down to Richmond by 102 points.
Having knocked over their rivals from Punt Road earlier in the season, the boys from Avalon Airport Oval had been looking to use the trip around the bay for their first “home” game since round five to build some momentum after the previous week’s win over Coburg.
But it became clear early on this game was headed for a very different outcome, a red-hot Richmond outfit running rampant as it chased a fifth straight win with a 15-goal opening half to take a 76-point lead into the main break.
Things started promisingly enough for Werribee. Josh Corbett drew first blood for his side with the opening goal of the game and looked set for a big one with four marks and two shots on goal inside the opening eight minutes.
But these proved rare moments to savour for the home side across the first half. Despite the best efforts of a busy Trent Dumont in the middle and Dom Brew’s trademark tackling pressure at the stoppages, “gimme” goals from right in front to Matt Hanson and Ben McKay provided the only other scoreboard resistance against the relentless Richmond attack.
With the game effectively iced at the main break, the coaching staff threw caution to the wind and began to explore new avenues, and it was here Werribee looked its most threatening.
Thrown forward from his usual role in defence, Lachlan Hansen scored an early breakthrough in the third term and followed up with a second minutes later, setting the tone for a much more competitive quarter that saw the two sides go goal for goal with four apiece before Richmond again took control in the final term.
Senior coach John Lamont paid full credit to the opposition but said his side was found wanting too often when it came to executing the basics.
“Richmond played really good footy, but we just couldn’t get the level of pressure on them that we needed,” said Lamont.
“Too often we made a mistake and didn’t touch the ball again, so that doesn’t reflect well on our defensive set-ups.
“The bottom line is the fundamentals of the game: ball handling, skill execution, some basic decision-making, and defending.”
A bright spot on an otherwise tough day for Werribee, Dumont’s game included team-high tallies of 32 disposals and 12 clearances, while Brew again raised the bar for pressure at the contests with an incredible 19 tackles, which included 11 in the first half.
Now sitting in seventh, Werribee must lick its wounds and look to bounce back quickly ahead of what shapes as a tough month of football.
It begins with the Beyond Blue Cup against ladder leaders Box Hill at Box Hill City Oval on Sunday, a challenge Lamont said he wants his side to embrace.
“It’s a big task going out to Box Hill, but we can get ourselves prepared for it,” he said.
“Historically, we’ve hit back well the last couple of years if we’ve been on the back of a bad loss. It’ll be a great challenge.”
2017 Peter Jackson VFL
Werribee: 2.2 3.2 7.4 9.7 (61)
Richmond: 8.2 15.6 19.10 25.13 (163)
Werribee: L. Hansen 2, J. Anderson 2, B. McKay, M. Hanson, J. Corbett, L. Pinnuck, D. McFarlane
Richmond: S. Bolton 5, B. Lennon 4, R. Bathie 3, T. Elton 2, T. Stengle 2, B. Griffiths 2, J. Townsend 2, J. Fletcher, C. Moore, S. Mannagh, B. Wood, J. Ballard
Werribee: T. Dumont, D. Brew, M. Hanson, J. Cleeland, R. Barrack, N. Richards
Richmond: T. Silvestro, T. Hunt, O. Markov, J. Townsend, J. Ballard, C. Ellis