Western Jets have added Gippsland Power to their growing list of roadkill in the NAB League this season.
The Jets have won four of their five away games, including victories in Carlton, Werribee, Gippsland and even interstate in Tasmania.
Jets football operations manager Matthew Dervan rated Saturday’s 18-point win over Gippsland Power at Morwell Recreation Reserve as one of the best road wins because it has been such an unhappy hunting ground for his club historically.
“It’s a hard place to win at Morwell,” Dervan said. “We haven’t won in a long time there.
“To get the four points was a pretty big confidence booster for the group to know we can perform to a high standard away from Melbourne.”
Western Jets had the game on their own terms in the first half.
The only letdown for the Jets was their inability to make their dominance count on the scoreboard.
The Jets led by 29 points at half-time, but it could have been more and they did not totally slam the door shut on the home side. “We really played well in that first half,” Dervan said.
“We played our brand of footy, but unfortunately we didn’t quite hit the scoreboard as much as we would’ve liked.”
Gippsland only needed a 10-minute patch in the third quarter to get back into the game.
The Power kicked four of the five goals in the third term to get to within 10 points at three-quarter time.
“Our defensive structure broke down and we let them back in,” Dervan said. “They were able to get four goals in 10 minutes and really get the momentum.
“[Jets coach] Ryan [O’Keefe] really challenged the boys to re-group and get back to the way we want to play.”
Gippsland kicked the first goal of the last quarter to get within a kick, but the Jets steadied and found two late goals to seal the victory.
Dervan was impressed with the Jets ability to respond when put under immense pressure by Gippsland.
Lucas Rocci was a huge reason why the Jets held on late. The captain was calm under pressure across half-back, finishing with 25 disposals, six marks and five tackles.
Aside from the coaches, Rocci was one of the key motivators for the Jets at three-quarter time.
“He’s getting a lot of the ball and is becoming a really reliable half-back flanker for us,” Dervan said.
“He really challenged the group at three-quarter time to get back to Jets footy and the way we want to play.”
There was no more influential player on the ground than Jets onballer Jonah Horo.
Horo’s team-lifting acts are becoming an every game occurrence for the Jets. The dominant two-way player finished with 20 disposals, four marks and nine tackles.
“He’s just an absolute bull for us inside,” Dervan said.
“He’s a tackling machine, he works hard and does the little things that inspire our team to work for one another.
“He’s really starting to show the class of player he can be and it’s inspiring some of our midfielders to support him and play like him.”
Emerson Jeka had a successful return from a knee injury with two goals for the Jets.
Will Kennedy was a powerhouse in the ruck with 50 hit outs.
Western Jets are fifth on the ladder, just a game and percentage off top spot.
The Jets will be hoping to continue their strong away form when they travel to play Greater Western Victoria Rebels at Mars Stadium on June 22.
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