A defensive effort for the ages was the cornerstone to Williamstown’s remarkable 79-point win over reigning premier Footscray in the Victorian Football League at Burbank Oval on Saturday.
The Seagulls restricted their western suburbs rivals to two goals on a day when gale forced winds were blowing to one end.
It was clear from the outset that Williamstown was switched on, despite the absence of star onballer Michael Gibbons.
In yet another endorsement for coach Andrew Collins, the Seagulls players defended the stoppages to the nth degree and utilised the dead wing to seep the confidence out of Footscray, which was goalless at quarter-time, even though they’d kicked with the aid of that howling wind in the first term.
Where Williamstown was spot-on with its ball movement, the Bulldogs blazed away time and again, missing targets and relying on long-range attempts to score that resulted in just six behinds.
The only two goals of the first quarter were kicked by Jack Dorgan and Adam Marcon for the Seagulls, giving the home side a one-goal lead.
Williamstown made full use of the wind in the second term, producing a four-goal-to-one quarter.
Footscray finally pierced the big sticks courtesy of Nick Jamieson to cut the deficit to 15, but late goals to Marcon and Lachlan Bramble gave the hosts a 27-point half-time lead.
The Bulldogs had no answer to Williamstown ruckman Nick Meese, who was on his way to a stupendous 94 hit-outs, while the Bulldogs called on inexperienced Nick De Steiger to ruck one-out following a game-ending facial injury to first-choice ruckman Tim English.
When Williamstown banged on three straight goals into the wind in the space of 10 minutes through Ayce Cordy, Tristan Davies and Ben Cavarra, it was officially turning into a rout.
Williamstown piled on seven goals to one in the last term to run out a convincing winner.
Arryn Siposs finished with three goals for the Seagulls.
Willie Wheeler was a driving force in the Seagulls’ midfield with 26 disposals, while Ben Jolley’s thirst for the contest shows no signs of abating. He finished with 24 possessions and 11 tackles.
It was largely a dirty day for Footscray, but the composure of Josh Prudden and Declan Hamilton and defensive pressure of Jamieson and Will Hayes was admirable.
Williamstown, which will travel to Coburg on Sunday, remains in the minor premiership hunt.
Footscray, which faces a danger game against the Northern Blues on Saturday morning, was spared falling out of the top four when Werribee Tigers upset fifth-placed Port Melbourne in a thriller on Sunday.