Werribee is by no means discouraged after seeing its three-game winning run come to an end at the hands of western suburbs rivals Williamstown in an eight-point loss in the Victorian Football League at Avalon Airport Oval on Sunday.
There was acknowledgment from the Werribee camp that Williamstown played better football for longer periods in the game, but their own side showed enough in their stretches of dominance to suggest the shine has not come off what has been an impressive past month.
Werribee leadership group member Matt Munro believes his side can actually take some momentum from the way they ran out the game against Williamstown.
At one point, Werribee was 37 points in arrears early in the third quarter, but a barnstorming finish saw it fight its way back to within two points before Josh Pickess kicked the sealer for Williamstown.
“We’ve got a really strong belief in the group,” Munro said.
“When we’re all on the same page, we can achieve anything really.
“We just need to switch on a little bit earlier, but we can definitely take the momentum we got in the last couple of quarters and take it into the following week.
“When we’re playing footy the way we want to play and on our terms, we’re pretty unstoppable.”
If Werribee is to be a serious contender this season, it will need to solve the mystery of its poor first quarter record.
In 10 opening terms this season, Werribee has won only three, and faced some fairly substantial deficits at the first break.
It proved costly against Williamstown as it was never able to totally bridge the gap on the scoreboard after trailing by 24 points at quarter-time.
“We were sort of playing catch up all day,” Munro said.
Werribee had the game on its own terms for large chunks.
It had 56 per cent time in possession and 62 inside 50s to 44, but Williamstown was that little bit more efficient inside attacking 50.
When Werribee began to get on top, it came through the dominance of its midfield.
Michael Barlow was in danger of leather poisoning with 39 disposals, seven marks and a goal.
The return of Barlow after nine years in the AFL system has turned Werribee’s midfield into one of the most damaging in the competition.
Barlow is building a synergy with Matt Hanson, who had 33 disposals of his own, Tom Gribble, who picked up 31 touches and Dom Brew, who had 24 possessions and eight tackles.
“We could see in that second half when we really came back at them, we really locked down inside and the boys started to generate a lot of ball, which helped us forwards,” Munro said.
“When they’re working together well, it’s pretty awesome to watch and it’s only going to get better from now on I reckon.”
Munro was the main beneficiary of the silver service from the midfield.
The 23-year-old small forward finished with 5.1, his best return in a game all season.
“It was a pretty good day for me, I was pretty happy,” Munro said.
“A few snaps, a few crumbs and some set shots – they were all different goals.
“I put my credit down to the midfield.
“In the second half, they really started to use the ball well and were hitting us forwards up, which made it a bit easier for us.”
The influence of veteran Williamstown ruckman Nick Meese was telling.
Meese had 64 hit-outs in a typically dominant ruck performance against young Werribee bigs Darcy Bennett and Jack Berry. Bennett and Berry will be better for the lesson.
Werribee will face a red hot Essendon, who thrashed Port Melbourne on the road last start, at Avalon Airport Oval on Sunday at 11.40am.
Munro is looking forward to what is probably his side’s toughest examination so far this season.