TALENT STARTING TO RISE: Round 2 only provided more new talent for fans to lock onto with many younger players beginning to settle in to their senior roles. Mason Fitzgerald and Taj Stevens looked more comfortable, demonstrating lesser fumbling and cleaner skills. Flinn Tily and Tyler Curtis also proved they could be prominent ruck-men in the near future.
SOUTH Mildura rode out an early storm from a gallant Red Cliffs to collect their first ‘W’ of the season in Sunraysia football on Saturday.
The Bulldogs, who have endured a gruelling pre-season under new playing coach Ben Dalton, who is a fitness trainer by trade, were full of run in the second half to draw away to a 33-point win at Quandong Park.
It came after a competitive first half, where the Tigers came out with plenty of pounce and matched South in the contest.
After an even start, Matthew Min solidified his place in the team for the Bulldogs with a goal of his own, before setting up another, while a spectacular banana kick from Kevin McDonald helped the visitors kick away to a 13-point quarter-time lead.
But Red Cliffs regrouped under new coach Vas Tuifao after the break and looked the better team at stages during the second term. The Tigers added three goals to close the game to within a kick.
With the game in the balance, South took control of some key match-ups in the second half, however, to re-establish control.
Deklan Loveridge came out on top of his many one-on-ones with Jordon Bourke, and a brave Tyran Dowell negated the influence of the Tigers’ coach Tuifao, which is no easy task.
Exceptional wing-work from playing coach Dalton along with the run of youngsters Mason Fitzgerald, Anthony Gauci and Matthew Spencely helped widen the gap, as South surged away with nine goals to five for the half to square their season at 1-1.
BIG SUMMER PAYING OFF: South Mildura’s playing coach Ben Dalton credits their rigorous pre-season for Saturday’s runaway win. “We knew it was going to be pretty hotly contested in terms of us (South Mildura and Red Cliffs) coming in today thinking it was a game we could win. So we expected it to be pretty hot and heavy in the first half, but we knew from the work we’d done in the pre-season early on we had the legs to come over the top in the end. The whole time for us was just to be in a position where we could win and then we could take care of it in the second half of the game. We showed some really good signs to finish off the game.”
SOUTH MILDURA 14.11 (95) d RED CLIFFS 9.8 (62)
Goals: South Mildura: M. Min 5, A. Gauci 2, T. Curtis, M. Spencely, J. McEwen, T. Stevens, C. Sellens, K. McDonald, L. Robertson. Red Cliffs: J. Bourke 2, J. Marciano, J. Sherry, V. Tuifao, L. Marcia-no, J.Reed, J. Parker, J. Jackson.
Best: South Mildura: M. Min, J. McEwen, M. Spencely, B. Dalton, D. Loveridge, D. Scullino. Red Cliffs: J. Bourke, D. Adkins, J. Marciano, J. Jackson, J. Reed, P. Tuifao.
Story and photo courtesy of Sunraysia Daily