This was the week it all clicked for Werribee in the Victorian Football League.
The seven games prior were about integrating the values of new coach Mark Williams and combining the established players with a host of new recruits – and that led to some rollercoaster rides.
But it all seemed to run like clockwork for Werribee in Saturday’s 35-point win over Casey Demons at Avalon Airport Oval.
It was Werribee’s most confident display, a true four-quarter performance in which it led from start to finish.
Werribee midfielder Dom Brew was among the elated.
“It was good to see it all come together,” he said.
“We had quite a large turnover of players, but with the core group that hung around [from last season], a couple down back like ‘Coggo’ [Nick Coughlin], [Dane] McFarlane and ‘Sods’ [captain Michael Sodomaco], in the midfield I’m in my third year with [Matt] Hanson, [Tom] Gribble and Joey Maishman and up forward Matt Munro, [Max] Augerinos and [Jack] Henderson leading the way, there’s enough core blokes there.
“The new blokes have slotted in nicely with the core. We’re just starting to figure out each other, so it’s exciting times.”
Even while being erratic at times within games, Werribee has been one of the strongest performing sides all season.
The boys from Watton Street are 5-3 after eight games, with their three losses coming by narrow margins.
They will go into the bye round sitting in fifth spot.
In victories over Casey Demons and Frankston, a week earlier, Werribee has delivered more even performances – and that is what has impressed Brew the most.
There were no weak links in the victory over Casey.
“We’ve put the foot down now,” Brew said.
Augerinos and Henderson sparked Werribee with their goal sense and forward pressure. Augerinos jagged three goals – a significant output in a low-scoring game, while Henderson added two.
“They were lively up front,” Brew said. “The conditions were pretty muddy and the ball was on the deck a bit, but they were able to sweep through, pick up and do some clean snaps.”
Jake Riccardi was Werribee’s other multiple goalkicker with two.
There were whispers that Riccardi could be considered for selection at the AFL’s mid-season draft, but that did not eventuate.
A big end to the season could see him snapped up later in the year.
“He’s 19 and he’s playing as our key forward, so that’s pretty good,” Brew said.
“Once he starts to get a bit more confidence and starts taking a few more marks and putting it all together, he’s going to be a real powerhouse.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he does get picked up at the end of the year.”
Werribee’s midfield was dominant against Casey.
Brew’s brutal tackling – 13 in all to go with 20 possessions and a goal – was a feature.
Michael Barlow (33 disposals), Josh Clayton (32), Gribble (26) and Hanson (26) racked up possessions at will.
“We’ve all got a good understanding in the midfield now,” Brew said.
Brew continues to develop into a top-line midfielder for Werribee.
Initially known as an in-and-under specialist and for his defensive pressure, the 22-year-old has added some class to his game with his outside ball use and is beginning to score goals.
“I’ve hit the scoreboard this year,” he said. “I’ve kicked more goals than what I have in my career this year.
“My defensive running and getting the ball – not so much in and under, but outside as well – is sort of where I’ve improved.”
Werribee’s next test will come against Sandringham away on June 16.