When Anthony Eames arrived as coach of Spotswood, he was entrusted to foster the club’s next generation of home-grown stars.
You need time and patience in a development phase, but it helps if you can get some victories along the way to reaffirm that you have taken the right path.
A shock win over Deer Park back in round three and Saturday’s six-point victory over Sunshine Kangaroos are indications that Spotswood is on the right track in the Western Region Football League division 1.
The Woodsmen took 15 players under the age of 21 into the heat of battle against a physically intimidating Sunshine at Kinder Smith Reserve on Saturday and came away with a win.
It was a significant result in the evolution of this side – one that showed they are starting to get up to the physical demands required.
“Body size, we were under the pump,” Eames said. “Sunshine is a very strongly built side and they hit the ball well, so to get a result, particularly after quarter-time when we were four or five goals down, it says a fair bit for our young guys.
“We still need to have another good pre-season or two in these kids to build them up. If we can do that, the club’s going to be in a pretty good position next few years.”
Spotswood was off colour in the first quarter and that was reflected on the scoreboard as it trailed by 27 points at quarter-time.
Sure, the Woodsmen were kicking into a stiff breeze, but there was something just not right about them in the opening 30 minutes.
It was the willingness of the Spotswood players to take stock and own the situation that impressed Eames. The Woodsmen chipped away in the second quarter and got it to a manageable five-point deficit by half-time.
The Kangaroos got their lead out to 17 by three quarter-time, but the Woodsmen were always going to be a good show in the last quarter with the assistance of the wind.
Spotswood not only won the last quarter comfortably, they kept the hosts scoreless.
“We were under pressure at quarter-time,” Eames said. “For the boys to respond the way they did the next three quarters was pleasing.”
Murray Boyd is the perfect leader for Spotswood. A hard worker at training and a lead by example type on the field, the ruckman is a great role model for the youngsters on the team.
Boyd continued his strong start to the season with a best-on-ground performance.
“He’s just old school, keeps having a crack every week,” Eames said.
David Iaccarino was outstanding in the midfield and veteran Tom Langlands was also among Spotswood’s best.
This was about the youngsters stepping up, such as Conor Daley, who thrived with his chance to play on the ball after spending most of the season as a wingman, Darcy Wilson, who hardly lost a one-on-one contest all day across half-back and Toby Kopa, who kicked three goals.
Meanwhile, Altona came from 32 points down at quarter-time to beat St Albans by 22 points. The Vikings are one of just two sides, along with Werribee Districts, to go into this weekend’s representative round bye undefeated.
In division 2, Yarraville Seddon gave Newport Power a 99-point hiding, Parkside got the better of West Footscray by 41 points, while North Footscray was upset by 23 points by new boys Point Cook.