Werribee could not have picked a better time to get that winning feeling back to Watton Street.
Four consecutive losses in tight games were beginning to drag on Werribee’s finals push, but it was nipped in the bud with a 27-point win over Port Melbourne in the Victorian Football League at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday.
Young Werribee midfielder Joel Bennett admitted it was a must-win game.
“We had to win today,” he said.
“We went out with that mindset.”
Werribee’s urgency to collect four points was all to do with ladder position.
The players did not see the four-game losing streak as a form slump because they had strung together four quality performances that could have easily seen them win all four games.
“We went into the game knowing it was a massive day for the club because of where we stand on the ladder and where we’re sitting with finals,” Bennett said. “We tidied a few things up, but generally we kept sticking to what we know we can do.
“It was good to get some reward [with a win].”
Werribee turned the pressure up to the extreme. The home side was brutal, building its win on a foundation of 96 tackles.
Seven players had five tackles or more with the tough-as-nails Dom Brew leading the way with 13.
First-gamer Tylar Watts was also a tackling machine with nine – most coming with his second efforts after competing in ruck contests.
“We really set the tone,” Bennett said.
“We knew what we wanted to do, we knew how we had to beat them and we went out and did it.”
Bennett was superb for Werribee.
The 22-year-old described his five-goal, 16-disposal and six-tackle game as “probably my most complete performance” in the VFL.
He was in a positive frame of mind from the moment he scored his first goal.
“The first goal I kicked was all from a Joe Maishman block,” Bennett said.
“I have to credit him for that first goal and the ball sort of got rolling from there.
“If Joe hadn’t done that for me to start off my day, I don’t think I would’ve had the day that I did.”
Bennett’s five-goal haul can be put down to sheer hard work because he spent most of his time in the midfield and only rested forward.
With only four games under his belt before running out against Port Melbourne, it was important for Bennett to hit the ground running.
“You don’t have to come in and kick 10 goals or have 30 touches, you’ve just got to come in and play your role and I think that’s what every player [that has been called up] has done this year,” Bennett said.
Kye Declase and Jake Riccardi kicked two goals apiece.
Tom Gribble was the leading possession winner for Werribee with 29 disposals.
Jack Henderson’s shut down role on Harvey Hooper was a big win for Werribee.
Werribee won without captain Michael Sodomaco and star onballer Michael Barlow, while Matt Hanson injured a hamstring in the first half.
It was a special win on a special occasion for Werribee, as it celebrated its past players day and member appreciation day.
“The past players are the ones who have set the club up so we can come in and do what we do,” Bennett said.
“The members, we love having them down, seeing all the kids there and all the families.”
Werribee sits a game and percentage inside the top eight ahead of a clash with Frankston at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday at 2pm.