Practice Match Report: Werribee vs Williamstown

Werribee has staged a remarkable comeback in its second practice match to register a 15-point victory over traditional rival Williamstown in scorching conditions in Waurn Ponds on Saturday.

Having taken its home fixture to the immaculate grounds of Deakin University's Geelong sporting complex, the host side was left stunned as the Seagulls jumped out of the blocks with six straight goals in the opening 20 minutes to take a 37-point lead into the first change.

But a goal to Josh Corbett inside the opening minute of the second term provided the impetus for a dramatic reversal in fortunes.

As the temperature climbed into the mid 30s, Werribee took control of the match and began to chip away at the deficit, kicking six unanswered goals of its own through the second and third quarters.

By half time, the margin had been cut to an even three goals; after an arm-wrestle of a third term, the difference was just 10 points.

It wasn't until Jason Robinson snapped through his second at the nine-minute mark of the final quarter that Werribee held the lead for the first time all day; yet such was the momentum of the home side that it appeared from there the result was only ever going to go one way.

So it proved to be. When Jade Cleeland marked and goaled on the final siren, it left Werribee with four more unanswered goals and 10 of the last 11 goals of the match.

Werribee senior coach John Lamont was pleased with the response after the first change but said his side had work to do to ensure it started games better.

"Williamstown absolutely smacked us in the first 15 minutes, so that gives us something to focus on," said Lamont.

"We need to be better organised and take more responsibility for winning the footy, and then we just need to defend better. We missed something like eight tackles in the first quarter, and I'm talking about ones that just should be made.

"Overall, we're pleased, but we're not at all happy with that first quarter, so it's something we'll definitely address."

The match provided an important opportunity for Werribee's new-look standalone side to gel together in a game-day setting, with midfielder Brenton Rees and ruckman Nick Nott both donning the "big W" for the first time and the returning Ben Moloney making his first appearance in Werribee colours in six years.

Up forward, though, it was the club's old brigade who had the biggest impact, Corbett and Cleeland finishing with three goals each and both providing strong marking presences.

Matt Hanson also gave another reminder of how dangerous he can be when pushing forward from the midfield, sending through two in as many minutes when the game was in the balance early in the third term.

Less positive for the host side were injuries to Ryley Barrack (neck) and Kurt Aylett (ankle), both of whom will be assessed during the week.

Werribee now has a six-day break before it takes on Geelong on Friday night at GMHBA Stadium.


Werribee: 1.2 5.3 7.8 11.10 (76)
Williamstown: 7.3 7.8 8.12 8.13 (61)

Goals: Jade Cleeland 3, Josh Corbett 3, Jason Robinson 2, Matt Hanson 2, Tom Gribble

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