Williamstown was not fooled by Frankston’s game of keepings-off during a 72-point win in the Victorian Football League at Skybus Stadium on Sunday.
The Seagulls did not overplay their hand, preferring to sit patiently and wait for the high possession Dolphins to make a mistake before pouncing to launch their own attack.
It was a defensive master class from the Seagulls, who were ready to apply pressure when the opportunity presented.
The Seagulls were so well structured that even the careful approach of the Dolphins could not break it down.
“Their game style was really about controlling the ball,” Seagulls coach Andrew Collins said.
“There was a lot of short kicking from the opposition and that’s really hard to defend.
“We needed to be really good with our pressure to cause turnovers and it’s a real credit to the boys that they did that.
“When we caused the turnovers we went pretty direct.”
Williamstown was lethal going inside 50.
The Seagulls scored from 58 per cent of their 46 entries to finish with 18.9.
Nick Rodda led the way for Williamstown with five goals.
Joel Ottavi, a forward and second ruck, kicked three goals, as did Sam Dunell, who was the conduit between the midfield and forward lines.
A pair of new recruits really impressed.
Mitch Hibberd, who played four games in the AFL with North Melbourne before he was delisted last season, scooped best-on-ground honours.
Hibberd was a contested ball bull en route to 25 disposals and three tackles.
“He was really strong around the ball,” Collins said. “He had about 10 contested possessions.”
Ben Kennedy was the other recruit to shine in a similar role to Hibberd.
Kennedy had two goals to go with 21 disposals and inspired his teammates with his tough acts towards winning the ball.
Nick Meese did what you expect to see from a big man.
The ruckman got the lion’s share of hit-outs with 30 and followed up his work with 11 possessions and six tackles.
“He’s so strong and so good at his craft and we get great benefits from that,” Collins said.
Sam Martyn recorded a game-high eight tackles for the Seagulls.
Williamstown is 2-0 to start the season, but importantly Collins is seeing steady improvement from a team with a lot of new parts.
The Seagulls will get to see how far they have come since their pre-season loss to Sandringham when the two sides square off at Trevor Barker Beach Oval on Easter Sunday. Meanwhile, Footscray also improved to 2-0 after a 72-point hammering of Collingwood at Olympic Park Oval.
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