Werribee kicked off its preseason campaign with a closed scratch match against the reigning VFL premiers Richmond, at Punt Road Oval on Saturday morning.
Thirty six players, including a host of new recruits got a taste of early March action, with Richmond fielding a strong squad featuring 19 AFL-listed players including premiership stars Toby Nankervis, Kamdyn McIntosh and Jack Graham.
The first half mirrored that of a regular season clash, with the intensity and skill level high. Without the experience of Michael Sodomaco, Michael Barlow and Matthew Lobbe, others had the opportunity to step up, and Forwards coach Nick Daffy liked what he saw.
“I think it went pretty well, the first half especially where we had most of the senior players in. We really matched it with them — I thought we were probably on top with our ball movement.”
Promising forward duo Tom Boyd and Hudson Garoni started brightly both booting majors, while the highlight of the day saw exciting 202cm ruckman Darcy Bennett palm down a perfectly-timed tap to Matt Munro who ran onto it and snapped truly.
Daffy lauded the efforts of Bennett and new recruit Jack Blair who came up against a dual premiership ruckman.
“Playing against Nankervis, he is a workhorse, it was fantastic for Darcy and ‘Blairy’ to see what the level is about, so you couldn’t get a better match up, really.”
Werribee led by seven points at the first change and then trailed by 11 at the main break.
“Second half of the game we ended up playing a lot more players who we hadn’t seen, so there was definitely some plusses and minuses that we saw in them. The main thing is our new players got a hold of our structures pretty well.”
New recruit Connor Menadue kitted up against his old side and displayed his trademark dash off half-back.
“He was fantastic early with his smart ball use. He has fit in really well, from a leadership perspective and the way he uses the ball.”
FT: Richmond VFL 14.9 (93) def Werribee 6.5 (41)
Werribee faces Geelong VFL in a practice match this Friday night, 7pm, at Deakin University Elite Sports Oval, Waurn Ponds.