For late game drama, you can’t go past a Wyndham derby between Hoppers Crossing and Werribee Districts in the Western Region Football League division 1.
The two local rivals know how to deliver a thrilling finish and that was the case again on Saturday as Werribee Districts emerged with a one-point victory at Hogans Road Reserve.
Incredibly, the past four games in this rivalry have been decided by seven points or less – an average margin of 3.25 points per game.
Werribee Districts coach Chris Gilham no longer needs to build up the game in his pre-game addresses – it builds up itself because of the history between the sides, the geography of the two clubs and the players who know each other through school, cricket, representative football or have crossed between the clubs.
“It goes without saying we’ve got a fierce rivalry with Hoppers Crossing,” Gilham said.
“No matter who is playing or where you are on the ladder, you just know that it’s going to be a tight game.”
One solitary point separated the sides at the end of 120 pulsating minutes of football and Werribee Districts were the lucky ones on this occasion, earning a bit of payback for its narrow loss to the enemy in last year’s finals.
The momentum shifted wildly all day with the Tigers prowling to a four-goal lead midway through the second quarter only to see Hoppers Crossing take a two-goal lead into three quarter-time.
The final quarter was gripping. Hoppers Crossing kicked out to an 18-point lead before they were lassoed in by the Tigers, then Hoppers hit the lead again and the Tigers once again returned fire.
Gilham was happy to concede that neither side deserved to lose, but he’ll take the four points of course.
“It was a result that could’ve went either way so it was pleasing to be on the right side of it,” he said.
Werribee Districts ruckman Will Sullivan had a colossal impact on the game. Sullivan, once listed with West Coast, dominated and was influential around the ground.
“That’s probably where we thought we had the upper hand,” Gilham said.
“Hoppers don’t sort of have a designated ruckman at the moment.”
So far this season it has been Sullivan’s brother Caleb who has been one of Werribee Districts’ recruits of the year.
“Caleb has no doubt been our best player for the first five weeks,” Gilham said.
“He’s a really good intercept mark defender.”
Onballer Mark Pozzuto was moved into the midfield as a fill-in for the injured Matt Dean and did some fine work at the coal face.
Ruck rover Trent Lee was important in the Tigers getting first use of the ball, while Stephen Plumridge shut down Hoppers star Jordan Mead. Cameron Lee, Jordan Patty and Chris Molivas kicked two goals apiece for the Tigers.
For Hoppers Crossing, Mitch Palma, Chase Guy and Ashlin Brown were the standouts, while Daniel Strnak had a big day with four goals.
Werribee Districts have had an undefeated start to the season, while Hoppers Crossing can also be content after its 3-2 start.