Top of the ladder status was the hard earned prize for Prahran Assumption after Saturday's VAFA Division 2 clash with previously undefeated West Brunswick.
Prahran Assumption is now top of the ladder with a six wins- three from three away from home- and one loss record, impressive enough and with room for considerable improvement in personnel and conversion.
This was a win to savour- in enemy territory at Ransford Oval with the hosts celebrating a Past Players day and in a high pressure game. Indeed the intensity of the opening 20 minutes was finals like with the fierce tackling by both teams the equivalent of any standard of football.
When the dust settled at quarter-time it was West Brunswick 1-2 and the Two Blues 0-5 kicking with the aid of a stiff northerly breeze.
As Two Blues supporters braced themselves for the Magpies charge after they slotted the opening goal of the quarter the momentum changed. Suddenly the Two Blues took control of the stoppages with skipper James Musster and Eric Kuret dominant. Nathan Costin ended the goal drought with a major on the run and Ben Leske and Paul Donahoo also goaled to give the Two Blues a telling 12 point lead at half-time. That proved the winning move in what was always going to be a low scoring game given the swirly wind and West Brunswick's defence oriented game style. Any threat of a last quarter Magpies revival was snuffed out by a classy running long goal from Port Melbourne listed first gamer Riley Hogan and then Josh Hogarth goaled to ice the game.
Musster, who won the Division 2 Fullerton medal in 2011, is surely on track for another competition award after another master class, with Kuret and Tom Freeman across half-back no less effective.
The move of Jack Matherson from full-back to centre half-forward in the third quarter proved telling as he presented as a target and kicked two crucial goals. The final margin of nine points, thanks to an after the goal siren by the Magpies, flattered the hosts as the Two Blues score line showed nine more scoring shots.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 0-5 3-8 5-13 8-15 (63) d WEST BRUNSWICK 1-2 2-2 4-5 8-6 (54)
Goals: Matherson 2, Donahoo, N Costin, Leske, Hogan, Dickinson, J Hogarth.
Best: Musster, Kuret, T Freeman, Matherson, Kerr.
First loss for the season for the Two Blues against a slicker opponent. After taking control in the second quarter West Brunswick had all the answers in a low scoring game.
Coach Josh Ancrum report:
1st- With a strong breeze we lost the clearance and inside 50’s. We were second to the footy and they showed us what a hungry side actually looks like. We overused the footy in patches and didn’t move it quickly with the breeze. Players keep trying to do too much with the footy and continually get caught. Should have been a deep entry forward so that our forwards could make something of it. We applied some early scoreboard pressure but our 2 way running was lacking. We can’t have midfielders walking to contests.
2nd- Our defence was under immense pressure with WB having the breeze. Chiz, Chill and Doddy all led from the front. Due to our lack of run and not making the most of our forward 50 entries we struggled to score. Down in the clearances once again and this needs to be our focus moving fwd. Majority of players keep getting sucked into contests as inside mids, however some players need to stay out as WB’s outside run cut us up and they were taking shots on the run outside 50.
3rd- Our tackling dropped right away, we got beaten in all stat counts plus we had the red card send off. The backline held firm as WB peppered away. At least we were able to grind away at the contest to only lose the inside 50’s by 3. Seemed as though we lifted and worked hard.
4th- Into a stiff breeze, we stopped running and tackling. They got on top in the clearances & once we realised the game had blown out to a few goals, the unsavoury behaviour began. If we can clean this up I have no doubt we can take it up to them on the wide spaces of TP. WB looks like the benchmark and they play their home ground very well, especially with their winger dropping off at the contests to be a loose man in defence.
Positives – Our defence was strong all day/ Our individual match ups worked well in the back half/ Key forwards made the most of the little opportunities they had through Walford / CHIEF 2 goals each/ Showed some grit in the 3rd to grind away at the scoreboard after receiving the red card.
Negatives – In all honesty when it gets to the players player vote and we are all scratching our heads to think of a player we know we have had a bad day. I’d say 15 of our 22 players had off games and were convincingly beaten. You can’t hide against good opposition and that’s why watching the game together in the coming weeks will be good for us all. Spider had his work cut out for him in the ruck but as midfielders we got smashed in the middle. Didn’t carry the footy into the wind like we had hoped, fell down across half forward and our overall fitness must improve. The last 10 minutes saw us give up and start to throw our arms about . Not a good look.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPOTION 10-9 (69 ) d CHADSTONE 2-13 (25)
Goals: N. Gouin 4, S. Bryant 2, P. Dillon 2, A. Davis, C. Murphy
Best: B. Anderson , S. Dillon, P. Dillon, A. Davis, C. Murphy, M. Wall