Werribee will enter the 2019 VFL finals series with blistering momentum, after it held off a fast finishing Williamstown in a wet and wild Western Derby at Downer Oval on Saturday night.
The ‘Big W’ prevailed by eight points in a low-scoring scrap, extending their unbeaten run to five games and all but locking in fifth spot and an elimination final date with reigning premiers Box Hill.
Williamstown: 0.2 1.8 1.9 4.12 (36)
Werribee: 4.2 4.2 6.8 6.8 (44)
Williamstown: J. Thorpe 2, S. McLarty, J. Pickess
Werribee: L. Pinnuck, J. Bennett, N. Coughlan, R. Kemp, J. Henderson, M. Munro
Williamstown: W. Wheeler, B. Kennedy , B. Myers, J. Thorpe, S. Dunell, J. Dorgan
Werribee: T. Gribble, M. Munro, N. Coughlan, M. Barlow, L. Pinnuck, K. Declase
HOW IT HAPPENED
Win or lose, Footscray’s result over Coburg ensured Williamstown could not move up or down on the ladder, prompting them to rest important trio Nick Meese, Mitch Hibberd and Jack Charleston.
Within minutes of the opening siren, Melbourne’s clear and mild evening quickly turned violently wintery, as typical Williamstown conditions set in for the night.
The game’s predictably contested style made for ugly viewing in a goalless opening 15 minutes, before, with the aid of the breeze, Werribee slammed on three majors in six minutes, and a fourth to finish the quarter to Williamstown’s nil.
Mark Williams’ men defended grimly in the second, conceding just the one major despite a barrage of inside 50s and scoring opportunities. Two goals to none in the third term extended the margin to a game-high 29 points heading into the final change.
Werribee again defended bravely against the wind, keeping the hosts scoreless for the first half of the last term, before three goals in the next ten minutes cut the margin to just nine points with under five minutes to play.
Williamstown’s late charge proved unsuccessful as the finals-bound boys in black and gold held on for an eight-point win, their fifth on the trot and 11th for the season.
Tireless midfielder Tom Gribble relished the conditions and finished the regular season as the equal-leading disposal-winner in the competition with Coburg’s Marcus Lentini.
Tom Gribble: 29 disposals (20 contested), 10 tackles, five inside-50s, four clearances
Michael Barlow: 26 disposals, (16 contested), 10 tackles, eight clearances, six inside-50s
Nick Coughlan: 20 disposals (15 kicks @ 87% efficiency), seven rebound-50s, a goal
Louis Pinnuck: 18 disposals, six tackles, six marks, four rebound-50s, a goal
Matt Munro: 14 disposals, five tackles, five inside-50s, a goal
Elimination final vs Box Hill
Adcon Stadium, Port Melbourne
Day & time TBC