There are times when you just need to win ugly and this was one of them for Altona in the Western Region Football League division 1.
The Vikings were coming off a rare loss, faced with atrocious weather conditions and staring down a dangerous opponent in Hoppers Crossing.
All that mattered for Vikings coach Saade Ghazi was to collect four points and get the hell out of Hogans Road Reserve.
It turned into a gutsy win for Altona, holding on by seven points as the hosts threatened late.
It was also significant in the historical context of the Ghazi era at Altona.
“At the end of it all, it wasn’t a pretty game and we won’t look too much into the individual stats or the footage of the game,” Ghazi said.
“We’re just very grateful we were able to beat Hoppers away because they’re very tough to beat away.
“I think it’s the first time we’ve beaten them away since I’ve been there.
“It was a big win for us.”
Altona managed to restrict Hoppers Crossing to just three goals.
The Vikings did so in the absence of defensive pillars Kelly Pickard and Jayden Post.
Team defence was the key, but Ghazi noted the extra responsibilities thrust upon a few of his backmen.
“I thought Kevin Johnson, Lee Spiteri and Tom Szanyi were quite good in the back half,” he said. “We had 22 guys that did quite well on the day.”
Lee Spiteri had an influence for Altona both in defence and the midfield.
Steven Kennedy was able to use his physicality to good effect for the Vikings in the contested ball situations.
Thomas Mundy was influential as a midfielder/half forward.
Mundy has yo-yo’d between playing for Altona and Williamstown in the VFL and continues to impress at both levels.
“He’s going to be a player of the future that’s for sure,” Ghazi said.
“He’s very tough for a young kid, he’s good in the air and good on the ground.”
Altona deployed two ruckmen with a good outcome.
Luke Goetz and Sean Tighe were dominant in the clearances and provided a target around the ground.
“Today’s conditions were tough for them, but they were getting their hands on the footy,” Ghazi said. “Luke took some good marks, which is an area that he’s had to work on, and Sean was a really good body player for us.”
Altona kept hold of top spot on the ladder by percentage.
The Vikings will feature in the match of the round against Werribee Districts away at Soldiers Reserve on Saturday.
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