The Western Region Football League has been comprehensively humbled by the Northern Football League.
Saturday’s interleague encounter was beset by poor kicking for goal by both sides early, but once the NFL players started kicking straight the gulf in class soon became apparent.
The 24.17 (161)-5.6 (36) scoreline at Preston City Oval told the story.
WRFL coach Anthony Eames said it was a valuable experience for his young side.
“We gave it a good crack early, and even after quarter-time, but they [NFL] were just able to capitalise better on mistakes,” Eames said.
“I think our group, especially the young blokes who have come through the junior ranks of the competition, will learn a lot from that game.”
Just one major was kicked in the opening stanza, at the end of which the NFL led by four points.
That was as close as the WRFL side would get.
The NFL had two more majors on the board inside three minutes of the restart. Hoppers Crossing’s Jordan Staley kicked the first WRFL goal, but the Northern men slammed on seven more goals before half-time.
Staley added a second major, his side going into the long break staring down the barrel of defeat at 67-18.
The experience of the NFL shone through after the break as the side kicked 14.10 to just three goals for the rest of the match.
Reece Miles kicked two goals in the third for the WRFL, while Sunshine’s Ben Christodoulou kicked the last goal of the game. Down back, Braden Ferrari and Liam Cavanagh toiled hard under an avalanche of defensive 50 entries.
“They [NFL] are a polished and experienced outfit,” Eames said.
“I think we dropped off across the board with our skills.
“We still kept having a dip, but let ourselves down with our skill level and they were good enough to capitalise on that after quarter-time.
“We over used it a bit by hand and once they got their tails up they were hard to stop.”
Despite the loss, Eames said the interleague experience was a positive one for his young charges.
“I think those that want to improve got a look at the work that you have got to do to get to that level,” he said.
“There’s a lot of strength work required … a couple more big pre-seasons will do our boys the world of good.
“I think if our boys are able to do that, and get more experience at this level, then they will be better footballers in the long run.”