SOMERVILLE is back in the MPNFL Nepean Division premiership race after a superb four quarter performance against Sorrento.
Backs against the wall and staring down the barrel of missing out on finals had they lost, it was all on the line for the Eagles.
Coach David ‘Budda’ Hirst put it on his players before the match that they needed to lift, especially some of the ‘big name’ players who had been horribly out of form.
Those players responded.
Ben Crowe was a match winner with five goals, Tim McGennis had more than 20 touches, Scott Simpson beat Nick Corp down back and Billy Rolfe was superb with three goals.
Somerville’s favourite son Ben Sedgewick was moved forward and responded with three goals and Jedd Sutton, who has had a sensational season, was best afield with five goals.
The Eagles dominated the opening quarter with 16 inside 50 metre entries to Sorrento’s seven, however they couldn’t convert their opportunities, leading by just six points at the first break despite having six more scoring shots.
Somerville always had the answers though, thanks to the likes of Josh Westerman, Steve Crowe and Rowan Hogenbirk, who provided the grunt in the team.
Youngsters Luke Burton, Josh McMahon and the best of all the kids, Luke Collie, were also cool under pressure.
Sorrento continued to come at the Eagles until midway through the third quarter, when Somerville took full control.
Sorrento’s lack of accountability when they didn’t have the ball was a concern, especially from the likes of Tyrren Head and skipper James Hallahan in defence. Both players are superb when the team is in possession of the footy but unaccountable and disrespectful of the opposition when they don’t have it.
There are also some players who are arguably at the back end of their careers, especially on Saturday’s performance. The likes of Trevor Mattison, Brent Kenyon (who equalled the club record of 262 senior games), Benny McCormack and Guy Stringer have been ornaments to the club and the MPNFL but it’s a young man’s game and they are only just holding on.
Leigh Treeby could be in the same boat. He was bullied and beaten on Saturday and didn’t respond, even against some of Somerville’s youngsters who got in his face.
Luke Tapscott doesn’t do enough for long enough. His spurts of brilliance are breathtaking but they are few and far between. Nick Corp is electric but another who can’t seem to find another gear when he is being beaten. Nick Marsten was another who disappointed.
Ryan Potter, Danny Stephenson and Jarryd Ferguson were Sorrento’s best – they played like their life depended on winning.
Generally, Sorrento has had it too good for too long, however with the likes of Jon Croad, Troy Schwarze, Leigh Poholke, Myles Pitt and Daniel Grant no longer around, it means some deficiencies that were once “band-aided” are now being exposed.
Sorrento’s best is still good and for three and a half quarters on Saturday they were in with a sniff, however when things got tough, generally they went missing.
Red Hill continues to amaze, smashing Hastings by 26 points, 16.9 (105) to 12.7 (79).
The Hillmen were blown away in the first quarter, conceding six of the first seven goals before booting 15 to six after the first break.
As a club, Red Hill should be very proud – they have a wonderful netball program, their Under 19s are on top of the ladder, their reserves are second after losing 20 players in the off season and their seniors continue to defy the odds and are sitting in third place.
The Hillmen have no superstars in their side, when you consider some of the other teams in the competition and the money being spent to secure them. I would bet that Red Hill would be paying half as much money as the top spending teams in the competition.
However, despite these facts, they continue to win games of football with a very even, balanced, hard working group.
They play for one another and as coach Tony Blackford continues to say, they “play to their strengths”.
“We understand that we don’t have big targets in attack and superstars of the competition,” Blackford said.
“But what I’m really proud of is that we have a group that is prepared to listen, work hard, carry out instruction and play our brand of football.
“That’s all I ask. We prepare well, we respect our opposition, and we do our best to play the way we want to play. We continue to prove that our best is good enough to beat anyone.
“In saying that, it’s a tough competition and there are dangerous sides throughout it. If you’re not at your best, you’ll get beaten,” Blackford said.
On Saturday, Harry Larwill and the slight Jono Ross booted four each while Benny Poole and Sean ‘Steve’ Marchetti were superb through the middle of the ground.
Jonah Siversen was the best player on the ground. Seamus Thompson played his 100th senior game after starting his career at the age of 29. What a great competitor.
Nick Gray was named Hastings’ best, while Luke Hewitt and Matt Clifford were outstanding early.
Rye kept its finals aspirations alive with a 15.18 (108) to 10.13 (73) victory over Pearcedale.
The Demons booted 12 goals to eight after half time with Nathan Henley at his brilliant best with six goals and Jack Nisbet and Ryan Mullett working well together at the centre bounces and around the ground.
Troy Jacobson is a star and he finished with four goals for the Dales while Kallum Searle’s good form continued.