Werribee Centrals have timed their run to perfection.
The Centurions will enter the final round of the Geelong and District Football League home-and-away campaign needing only to beat winless Corio to secure a top-three finish and a finals double chance.
A resounding 44-point victory over Inverleigh in the third-versus-fourth showdown at Inverleigh Reserve on Saturday propelled the Centurions above their opponents and into third place.
It has taken the Centurions 17 weeks to break into the top three, an effort coach Nick Smith described as “massive”.
“Considering where we were – we started the year 0-2 and after eight rounds we were sitting in seventh – to get into a position now where next week, as long as we beat Corio, we get that double chance, the boys were pretty rapt,” he said. “It would’ve been the loudest we’ve sung the song.”
It was the icing on the cake of Werribee Centrals’ 50th anniversary celebrations on Saturday.
The Centurions did not have it all their own way – they were trailing by seven points at half-time.
An incredible eight straight goals in the third quarter busted the game wide open.
“The first half was a bit of an arm-wrestle and then we kicked eight goals to nothing in the third quarter,” Smith said. “All of a sudden, the game went from close to all over in one quarter. It was probably the best quarter of footy that we’ve played since I’ve been at the club. We felt like we were getting plenty of the ball and putting it into more dangerous spots.
“We kicked a stack of really good crumbing, wet-weather goals.”
Josh Sloan had another sensational game in the ruck for Werribee Centrals. Midfielders Reece Miles, Matt Miller and Brad Carlton received great service at his feet. Miles has caught the eye since crossing from WRFL club Manor Lakes mid-season because of his elite in-and-under work.
“I can’t talk highly enough of what he’s brought to the group,” Smith said.
“He’s got the ability to win that first footy. If he gets in and gets the ball out to our leg speed on the outside, it’s a good combination.”
The quick transference of play from the centre to the Werribee Centrals’ forward line gave small forwards Daniel Boyd and Daniel Skinner ample room to do what they do best.
Boyd kicked a team-best three goals, while Skinner added two.
“They’re both small forwards and they did a good job of finishing off the hard work of the midfielders,” Smith said.
“We have a pretty simple game plan of where we want the ball to go … we just ask players to compete and bring it to ground.
“Those two, in particular, were a bit too quick and a bit too smart for their opponents.”
Werribee Centrals will host Corio in the final game of the regular season at Galvin Park on Saturday, with the first bounce at 3.30pm.