Werribee Districts will use the week off in the Western Region Football League to try to find its lost spark.
The banged up Tigers have been a bit flat since their stirring round three win over Wyndham rivals Hoppers Crossing.
They had a letdown against Altona following the local derby, going down by 59 points, but returned to the division 1 winners’ circle on Saturday with an unconvincing 41-point win over newly-promoted Caroline Springs away at the Town Centre Oval.
The interleague bye has come at the right time for Werribee Districts.
The Tigers have opted for their players to sit out of the WRFL’s representative game against the Northern Football League on Saturday to give them time to recuperate and ensure there are no additions to the casualty list.
“We think it’s more beneficial for our club if we have the week off, rather than put ourselves through another game,” Tigers co-captain Matt Dean said.
“Considering our high injury toll, as a collective, we thought it’s better that we step aside for the week and get it right.”
Werribee Districts are concerned by their recent form.
Sure, the Tigers were met with resistance from Caroline Springs, which is quickly earning respect as a competitive side, but they were still nowhere near the levels that have seen them go deep into the finals in recent years.
“We were a bit disappointed with how we performed,” Dean said.
“I don’t know if you put it down to the conditions with it being quite windy and sort of wet and greasy, or a lack of application.
“Give some credit to them, they competed all day and had a chance to get themselves back into it in the last quarter.
“If you play like that against the top three or four teams, you’re going to struggle.
“I’m sure [coach] Chris [Gilham] will speak to us about it during the week and try and figure some things out.”
Andrew Panayi is one of the Werribee Districts stars with injury “niggles”.
Panayi came back from a hamstring injury and booted four goals in a successful return.
Chris Molivas has battled hard in the ruck for the Tigers in the face of injuries to their main two big men.
Molivas competes as best as he can as an under-sized ruckman, but is probably more beneficial as a fourth midfielder at the centre bounce.
Brent Morrow offered the repeat lead and mark option the Tigers needed around the wide expanses of Town Centre Oval, but it was Ben Morton’s impact, first as a midfielder and then as a running defender, that proved crucial in the second half.
“He was playing midfield in a negating role on some of the opposition,” Dean said.
“Then he went down back to give us a bit of run off the backline and he was one of those that helped our transition from defence to attack.”
Werribee Districts head into the break in fourth spot with a 4-1 record.
Games against top three clubs Sunshine Kangaroos (second), Deer Park (third) and Spotswood (first) in the next three rounds will give a good gauge of how the Tigers are tracking this season.