The South Eastern Times : July 1st 2014
18 SPORT Cold day for visiting Saints Thomson stars as East thrashes Millicent at McDonald Park quagmire DAVE TURNER WINTER arrived at McDonald Park on Saturday turning the East Gambier versus Millicent Western Border football match into a “slog-fest.” With the heavy rain prior to the weekend, with four games on the park before the seniors took to the field and intermittent rain during the afternoon the oval was a quagmire, making the conditions suitable for mud wrestling rather than football. The home side was never in danger of losing as it took control in the opening few minutes and never looked back due mainly to the efforts of full forward, Kevin Thomson, who booted eight goals for the match. Considering his side only booted 11 on the day his effort was all the more creditable and the majority of his goals came from roving the ball when it stopped in the mud. The Bulldogs entered the game with five changes from the previous week. Back from injury were Shem Balshaw, Jake Harrap, Matt Van Schaik and Nick Lock, while Chris Hann came in for his first game of the season. The Saints included under 17 player James Watts for his senior debut, Phil O’Loughlin returned and Hamish Nitschke travelled back from Adelaide. How the game unfolded EAST won the toss and kicked with a slight breeze, with play beginning in drizzly conditions. They were immediately into attack with the opening score being a point from Kevin Thomson, but he made amends a few minutes later when he scored the opening goal. The home side’s second came from the resultant centre bounce when Balshaw ran on from the rucking duel to take a handball 40 metres out and made no mistake. Millicent’s opening goal – its only score for the quarter – came after seven minutes when Chris Denton marked on the forward flank just inside the 50 metre line and his kick fell short for Cameron Haggett to mark in the square and to kick accurately. It was the Kevin Thomson Show from then on as he finished with four majors for the quarter. He was one of the few players on the field handling the slippery conditions as those on both sides became frustrated resulting in a number of scuffles as the umpires had to ask those involved to cool their temper. East ended the term with 5.4 to 1.0 on the scoreboard. Second quarter IT was end-to-end for the opening five minutes of the second term as the ball became slippery to handle. Thomson once again came to the fore to score the first major for the quarter. Saints’ Joe Walker had a chance to get the goal back from 30 metres out but his kick was astray. Millicent had much of the play, but were unable to find a winning forward and to make matters worse they lost one of their playmakers in Phil O’Loughlin who left the field with a shoulder injury. The visitors finally managed to score as time on began, when Hamish Nitschke goaled from 30 metres on a slight angle. The scuffles continued with the umpires yellow carding East’s Dylan Howard and Millicent’s Brad Smith late in the term. Under the difficult conditions both sides only managed a goal each for the quarter with the scores at the long break seeing East 6.4 to 2.1. Third quarter EAST opened the better in the third when Thomson once again scored in the opening 18 - The South Eastern Times, Tuesday, July 1, 2014 THAT’S MINE: Mitchell Gordon of Millicent bumps his East Gambier opponent aside. two minutes when he snapped his sixth from the middle of a pack and he followed up shortly after for another after he received a handball 20 metres out and made no mistake. Thomson was also involved in his side’s next major when he handballed to Greg Lines for his side’s ninth major. Fierce tackling was the order of the day and the umpires weren’t helping matters as many holding the ball and in the back frees went “unnoticed”, resulting in player and supporter frustration. Adding to Millicent’s woes was when they lost one of their better players late in the term when Brad Tilley left the ground with slight concussion. The visitors had their fair share of the ball but the over-doing of short passes that went astray was their downfall, while East was prepared to kick long. The quarter ended with East leading 9.6 to 2.2. Final quarter THE Saints had the first chance to score in the last term when Chris Denton had a set shot from 20 metres out on a slight angle, but his kick went off the side of his boot to land in an opposition players’ lap. This was the story of their day. Neither side could get in the clear as there were continuous stoppages and tired legs took over. Thomson made his presence known as he booted his eighth for the game after 12 minutes of play and Matthew McCallum scored the goal-of-the-day when he snapped from the boundary with two minutes to go on the clock. Players were happy to hear the final siren, enabling them to head to the hot showers. East’s score was 11.7 to 2.2 at the end of play. The wash-up East was far too good for the Saints as they led from start to finish and they had a winning forward in Kevin Thomson who booted eight of their 11 goals to be easily the best-on-the-ground. He had a number of opponents during the day, but still managed to make the most of his opportunities. Due to the conditions there were numerous stoppages and Millicent won its fair share of those due to the dominance of its ruckman Cameron Haggett, but was unable to take advantage of his work. Tempers were frayed many times during the match with a number of scrimmages involving up to 15 players. The umpiring was of a poor standard with many frees missed and a lot of the stoppages could have been avoided had a free been given. East’s on-ball brigade, led by Balshaw, Lines and McCallum, did the hard work around the ground for their side to set up their forward thrusts. Millicent continues to promote its youngsters, but unfortunately they are also playing the majority of them in the Under 17 match. This was the case on Saturday with seven playing two games on the day and this took its toll as the legs became weary as the match progressed. Coaches’ comments EAST coach, Brendan Little said his team played very well considering the conditions. He was full of praise of Kevin Thomson for his excellent roving exhibition resulting in his eight goals – his best return for the year. “Millicent kept having a go, but we managed to run the game out the better,” Little said. “We meet South Gambier next round and it is a must win match if we are to make the finals. “It will be a big challenge.” “We let them get away from us in the opening quarter and it was catch-up thereafter,” Millicent coach, Andrew Robinson said. “We just couldn’t convert our scoring chances. “Some of the kids playing two matches in such poor conditions didn’t help. “We will keep battling on and promoting our juniors to give them a taste of senior football.” SECOND IN LINE: Millicent’s Jeremy Hales was man in the middle, but took the mark. www.thesoutheasterntimes.com.au TOE POKE: Mason Redman of Millicent attempts to kick clear of East’s Matt Dempsey. GONE: East Gambier’s Jayden Eldridge is caught by Millicent’s Joe Walker.
June 26th 2014
July 3rd 2014