Played under heavy skies and with intermittent showers the round 10 clash between the Bulldogs (fourth) and the fifth-placed United proved to be a tough and physical encounter.DOUG MILLER July 2, 2014 3:45am
Jayden Young leaps to spoil a mark during Saturday’s game against Shepparton United. Pictures: Cameron Pratt
The match was a real eight-point affair, a Tatura win would extend the margin between the two sides to 12 points and a loss would bridge the gap to four points.
After a sluggish start it was to be the Bulldogs who prevailed, running out comfortable 38-point winners — a margin that didn’t reflect the closeness of the contest.
Played in front of a good sized crowd, considering the bitterly cold conditions, it was to be United who dominated the opening phase of the clash.
Kicking with the aid of a slight breeze the visitors created many scoring opportunities, only to let themselves down with poor conversion. Their opening five shots on goal resulted in minor scores; quite a few were set shots from close range.
Tatura struggled to get the ball into their forward 50 and it took until the 14 minute mark before a congested piece of play resulted in nuggety small man Jack Ritchie snapping the opening goal of the game.
For all their dominance United found themselves trailing on the scoreboard.
In the blink of an eye a United answering goal allowed them to take a four-point lead into the first break.
For all their dominance around the stoppages and the creating of scoring opportunities it was to be a quarter of lost chances for the Shepparton-based side.
Tatura, with the knowledge that they were very much still in the contest even considering the dominance of the visitors, were primed to take advantage of the breeze blowing.
Unfortunately United had other ideas and inside the first two minutes had a goal on the board and stretched the margin to 10 points. This was quickly followed by another and all of a sudden it appeared that Tatura’s run of wins was under threat.
It was desperately in need of a spark and that came in the form of dynamic mid fielder James Sullivan (four goals) who was clearly best on the ground. He converted two long shots on goal to reduce the margin at the long break to a manageable one point.
A few well-chosen words from the coach at the break certainly had the desired effect as the second half was all one-way traffic with the Bulldogs’ work rate and ball use improving dramatically as they completely took control of the contest.
Ten inside 50s to the Tatura team compared to three to United during the third term clearly displayed the dominance.
Tom Sullivan who was a good player all day stood up with some strong marks and put his body on the line and it was Sullivan who snapped the opening goal of the second half to give the Bulldogs the lead by five points, a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.
The change in the game was dramatic as Tim Lanyon found space to mark and goal and open up a 10-point margin. Lanyon was another player who stood up when it mattered and continued his stellar run of form.
Under pressure the Demons gave up an undisciplined 50
Three unanswered goals for the term had the Bulldogs up by 16 points at the final break with the breeze at their back to finish off.
Finish off they did, because they were all over their opponents, slamming through four goals to one to complete a fantastic second half and extend the margin to 38 points.
Seven goals to one exemplified the dominant half of football. The only query from the coaching staff would be why it took a half to get into stride?
This week will see the Bulldogs travel to Benalla and take on the undefeated Saints in the match of the round. Playing one half of football will not cut it against the top-of-the-table Saints, hence the challenge is there for Tatura to bring their A-grade game and it will give everyone an indication of where they sit in the pecking order.
Matt Ryan showed he is a player of the future with poise and skill across half back and together with his brother Brad they have been excellent inclusions into the side.
Ritchie relished the tough conditions and his attack on the football sets the example for others to follow. Another pleasing aspect was the return to form of another youngster in Sean Martin who displayed sure ball handling in difficult conditions.
The only blemish was a slight hamstring strain to gun on baller Rob Montgomery.
Score: Tatura 10. 11 (71) defeated United 4. 9 (33).
Goals: J. Sullivan 4, T. Sullivan 1, T. Lanyon 1, B. Lovel 1, P. Kirby 1, J. Ritchie 1, S. Whiting 1.
Best: J. Sullivan, T. Lanyon, M. Ryan, T. Sullivan, J. Ritchie, S. Martin.
The reserves, who have been bolstered with an inclusion of players over the past two weeks, kept their finals hopes alive with a well-deserved 25-point win.
Kicking with a strong breeze in the first term the Bulldogs dominated proceedings, and if not for poor conversion could have sealed the contest at the first break.
Nine shots on goal to United’s one should have seen a bigger margin than 28 points. Ben Harris (four goals) was on fire slamming through three majors as a crumbing forward.
The damage had been done and United as hard as they may try were unable to ever really challenge the Dogs.
Corey Mallon and Mitch Elliott, who were dropped back from the seniors, were great contributors as was the underrated Steve Barrett. A big pre-season and Barrett could certainly play senior football.
James Nihill and Anthony Poppa relished the hard conditions and kept their name up for senior selection if required. Cam Trewin slotted through two goals as he also pushes for a senior game.
Special mention must be made of skipper Steve Beale who dominated across the defence against a big bodied opponent.
Score: Tatura 8. 10 (58) defeated United 5. 3 (33).
Goals: B. Harris 4, C. Trewin 2, B. Sheppard 1, M. Elliott 1.
Best: B. Harris, C. Mallon, S. Barrett, J. Nihill, M. Elliott, A. Poppa.
Coming up against a side who were also winless in 2014 the young pups were hopeful of notching up a win.
Unfortunately the United side were far too strong and their use of the ball was superior to the Bulldogs.
Kicking with the aid of a strong breeze the Demons had three goals on the board in the first eight minutes and established a momentum that would prove difficult to stop.
To the Tatura side’s credit not once did they stop trying and a good period in the second term, (three goals) showed they are capable of good football. Brayden McGregor gathered plenty of touches and his work rate was tremendous.
Some others to show they have what it takes were Hugh Bertram across half forward and around the ground Kyle Suratman took some strong marks. Zach Trevaskis and Zave Ballis are also two lightly built players who have good skills and will be influential as they gain more strength.
Joel Batson in the ruck also continued to develop and moves around the ground well.
Score: Tatura 5. 4 (34) lost to United 12. 13 (85).
Goals: Z. Ballis 2, H. Bertram 2, J. Batson 1.
Best: B. McGregor, J. Batson, H. Bertram, Z. Trevaskis, Z. Ballis, K. Suratman.
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Tuesday, August 16
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