Newport’s emergence as a genuine finals’ contender has been one of the pleasant surprises of an enthralling opening six rounds in the Western Region Football League division 2.
After four consecutive wins, the Porters finally met their match in the all-conquering Wyndhamvale at Wyndham Vale South Reserve on Saturday, but just the fact they were involved in a top-of-the-table clash a third of the way into the season shows how far the Ziggy Kadour-coached side has come.
Newport captain Munir El Houli has been impressed with his team’s commitment.
“We didn’t really expect to be in this position this early in, but we’ve worked really hard,” he said.
Newport’s winning streak came to an end at the hands of premiership front-runner Wyndhamvale in a 55-point loss.
The Porters were not left deflated, nor were they shocked, because they had planned to face the Falcons’ best.
While they were disappointed not to continue their winning run, they gained some valuable insight into the best team in the league.
“We didn’t think because they struggled in division 1 and came back that they weren’t going to be any good,” El Houli said.
“They were always going to be good, they’ve always been solid even when they didn’t have the success, so they’re definitely the benchmark.”
The positive to come out of the day for Newport was its willingness to fight until the bitter end.
The Porters’ best football came late in the game, which is a sign of a team with good character.
After kicking just two goals in the first three quarters, Newport out-scored the hosts four goals to one in the fourth quarter to add some much-needed respectability to the scoreboard.
“We did continue to work hard as much as we could, even though a lot of us were fasting [for Ramadan] and it was hard for us, as it has been the last couple of weeks,” El Houli said.
Newport will take on Point Cook Centrals at A.W. Langshaw Reserve on Saturday.
Elsewhere in division 2, West Footscray had a stirring one-point win over arch-rivals North Footscray at Hansen Reserve. David Ismail kicked three crucial goals for Wests.
Yarraville Seddon was comfortable 48-point victors over Manor Lakes on a day when Alex Bouris bobbed up for three goals.
Parkside went down by 20 points on the road to Point Cook Centrals.
In division 1, Altona and Spotswood consolidated their places in the top four with commanding 54-point wins.
Altona, sparked by four goals from Patrick Rose, beat Caroline Springs, while Spotswood, led by four goals apiece from Gareth Newton and Steven O’Bryan, brought down St Albans.
In division 3, Braybrook slaughtered a struggling North Sunshine by 211 points.
Two of Brookers’ players kicked double figure goals with Paul Cutajar-Milosev booting 11 and Nick Gregson with 10.
Laverton was on the receiving end of an ugly 132-point loss to Glen Orden.
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