With nine games down and nine to go, Werribee has plenty of work ahead if it is to feature in this year’s Victorian Football League finals.
Werribee will head into its bye round this weekend with a 2-7 record, which leaves it three games outside the top eight at the mid-point of the season.
Following its most significant victory in years away to Box Hill Hawks two weeks ago, Werribee suffered a massive setback on Saturday when it was pummelled by Port Melbourne on home soil by 78 points at Avalon Airport Oval.
Irrespective of the outcome in nine games time, it has already been a landmark season for Werribee on and off the field.
Story so far
The theme of the season for Werribee so far has been inconsistency. You don’t know what you are going to get from quarter to quarter, let alone game to game. Should we be surprised? Absolutely not. This is a young team that is taking its first steps as a stand-alone entity without being propped up by AFL players, so it will take time. The best part about Werribee’s inconsistency is the intoxicating highs where they have run-ons and can pile on goals consecutively. If you had a wish for Werribee in the second half of the season, it would be for it to find its middle ground though, as its low periods can be hard to watch at times.
Not only was Werribee’s seven-point victory over Box Hill Hawks in round nine its best win of the season so far, it was arguably its best win in years. It proved that Werribee belongs as a stand-alone side and no longer has to fear powerhouse opposition. Werribee will gain tremendous confidence out of the win going forward. Michael Sodomaco led Werribee with aplomb, collecting best-afield honours, while Jake Sharp kicked three valuable goals. Werribee’s only other win came against Williamstown by a massive 41 points in round three – its only win so far at a redeveloped Avalon Airport Oval. It was its first victory since returning as a stand-alone club.
We’ll go with one from each section of the ground. In defence, strong marking Sam Collins has been a steadying influence, assuming leadership responsibilities. If the former Fremantle defender replicates his first half of the season in the run home, he should make a hasty return to the AFL ranks. In the midfield, Tom Gribble has always been a prolific ball winner, but he has taken his game to another level this season, and crucially too with reigning best-and-fairest Matt Hanson facing a long stint on the sidelines with injury. Up forward, Josh Corbett is enjoying a break-out year with 21 goals to be one of the best medium-sized forwards in the competition. There has been one other star – Avalon Airport Oval. Werribee’s new-look home has received rave reviews from players, coaches and spectators, making the pain of the ‘travelling Tigers’ last season worth it.
In such a significant year in Werribee’s rich history as a football club, you are reticent to point out a low note. But after being competitive for the most part through its first eight matches, Saturday’s 78-point mauling from Port Melbourne, another stand-alone side, was simply unacceptable.
The road ahead
Three games and percentage out of the top eight, finals might be a stretch, but Werribee will make a push after the break. If Werribee is to get back into the finals mix, it will have to do so on the road with three consecutive away games against Frankston, Geelong and Collingwood immediately after the bye.