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Resilience shines through for Centrals

June 2, 2024 11:05 am in by
Werribee Centrals coach Rhyce Prismall speaks to his players during the win over the Belmont Lions. (Darren Phillips)

With ruck Paddy Daley out of the contest and rising star Carmelo Saliba hampered, even the most hardened Werribee Centrals supporters would have left Galvin Park happy with an honourable loss to the undefeated Belmont Lions.

However, come 5 o’clock, those same supporters were labelling a 12-point win by the Centurions as one of their best since before Covid as they handed the Lions their first loss of 2024 with a 12.16 (88) to 11.10 (76) victory.

“They had us on toast early in the game,” coach Rhyce Prismall said.

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“Two go down a couple of players and still run over the top of them … a very positive show of resilience from the boys.”

Trailing by six points at three-quarter time after what Prismall admitted was a “pretty poor” third term, his message was a simple one in the slippery conditions.

“‘Let’s not overuse the handball, get back to winning the loose ball’, because they were getting their hands on it first,” he said.

“You can’t get it into your forward line if you can’t get your hands on it.

“So, it was real back to basics – ‘Win the footy. Don’t overuse it’.

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“We knew our forwards had their backs’ measure; we just weren’t giving them enough opportunities by getting it in their quick enough.

“I could see the hunger in the boys’ eyes at three-quarter time. I had a good feeling about it.”

Prismall was full of praise for St Bernard’s recruit Zac O’Halloran, who shifted into the ruck when Daley rolled his ankle.

“We recruited Zac in the off-season as a full forward/back-up ruck,” Prismall said.

“He could be a permanent ruck for us, but having the luxury of the two of them, we haven’t had to utilise Zac in the ruck.

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“With the Evans boys in the ruck – and they’re big, strong lads – it suited us to a point having Zac as he’s slower and big-bodied, and the conditions suited him.”

Despite being three games and significant percentage clear of fourth-placed Bannockburn and Thomson (fifth), Prismall isn’t losing focus on meetings with ladder leader East Geelong and reigning premier Inverleigh after the bye.

“We’re not going to get too far ahead of ourselves,” he said.

“We’ve got two hard games coming up and then we go back to the start of the fixture.

“The first couple of games of the year, we could have easily been on the other side of the ledger.

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“Corio and Geelong West pushed us really hard – so did Bell Post Hill.”

Josh MacDonald and Blake Taylor finished with three goals for the Centurions, while Sam Jones and Ben Evans managed four apiece for the Lions.

Prismall hopes Daley and Saliba (corkie) will be right for the meeting with the Eagles.

Josh Sutton (concussion protocols) will play if cleared to return.

GDFNL: SCOREBOARD – ROUND 9

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The loss by the Belmont Lions has seen East Geelong claim top spot on percentage after a gritty nine-point win over Bannockburn at Victoria Park.

Despite being held goalless in the final term, the inaccurate Eagles held on for an 8.16 (64) to 8.7 (55) result.

Austin Mulvahil and Lachie Zimmer kicked two goals apiece for East, while Leopold recruit Fletcher Wilson’s good form for the Tigers continued with a five-goal haul.

Six-goal hauls from Lucas Boyd and Jacob Knight helped Thomson retain its spot inside the top five following a percentage-boosting 87-point victory over Geelong West at Godfrey Street.

The Tigers were in control from the opening bounce as they posted a 20.15 (135) to 6.12 (48) result.

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Matt Ianelli and Daniel Pollard managed two goals apiece for the Giants, now three games outside the top five.

Adam Donohue kicked five goals, but it was second-gamer Noah Sneskov’s four goals that had everyone talking after Inverleigh held off a spirited challenge from Winchelsea to claim a 16-point victory at Eastern Reserve.

A late inclusion on Friday night, the teenager, who’s booted 22 goals from eight reserves games this year, kicked the final two majors of the contest to help the Hawks to an 18.11 (119) to 15.13 (103) victory.

At the other end of the ground, Jordan Gould almost dragged the Blues across the ground with a career-best six goals.

Anakie kicked its highest score in nearly five years, claiming its third win of the season by beating Corio by 33 points at Anakie Reserve.

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The Roos, who last topped 100 points in Round 14, 2019, led the Devils by 13 points at three-quarter time but kicked 5.4 to 2.2 in the final term to win 16.13 (109) to 11.10 (76)

Oscar Barter was again a standout for Anakie. He kicked seven goals to take his season tally to 24.

Andrew Boseley kicked three goals for Roos, while former AFL duo Sam Lloyd and Luke Dahlhaus contributed two.

Herschelle Carr maintained a share of the lead on the goalkicking table with five goals for Corio.

North Geelong made light work of Bell Post Hill at Keith Barclay Oval, with a 77-point win keeping the Magpies in touch with the top five.

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In an even team performance, Blake Miller and Rory Desnoy kicked three goals as North romped to an 18.11 (119) to 5.12 (42) victory.

X: @krockfootball

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