Williamstown have continued their fine late season form making it seven wins in a row after defeating North Ballarat by thirteen points in round nineteen of the Peter Jackson season at a cool Eureka Stadium in Ballarat. The Seagulls booted five goals to nil in the third quarter and although they failed to kick a goal in the final term themselves, they managed to hold the home side at bay winning 9.17.71 to 8.10.58.
Players from both sides watched on prior to the game as China slugged it out with Finland in a round of the AFL’s International Cup series. The willingness at the contest of the internationals may have inspired the Seagulls as they jumped out of the blocks booting the first two goals of the main game.
Jordan Staley kicked the Rooster’s only goal for the opening term as the Seagulls took a 17-point lead into the first change. In the huddle Rooster’s coach Gerald Fitzgerald called for more ‘energy and urgency’ from his charges, ‘not enough life in the group’ and ‘missed tackles’ hurting them in the term.
A healthy wind blowing to the pocket at the scoreboard end aided the Roosters in the second quarter and they booted the first three goals to take the lead. North Ballarat’s defence held sway with the likes of Max Warren and Tony Lockyer making life difficult for Williamstown’s forwards.
Lachlan George capitalised on a Seagull’s turnover across half-back to put the Roosters within a goal before Staley booted his second giving the home side the lead at half-time – 5.5.35 to 4.9.33. When play resumed, Williamstown quickly regained the lead, thanks to rover Kane Lambert who goaled after pouncing on a Rooster’s turnover.
Adam Marcon and skipper Ben Jolley found plenty of the football and controlled the supply through the midfield. The Seagulls defence repelled any attack from the Roosters thanks to some good work by Brad Mangan.
Ryan Ferguson marked and kicked truly from well out - the Seagulls fifth in-a-row – to give Williamstown a 32-point lead at the final change. With the Roosters kicking to the scoring end, a last-quarter fight back was expected by the locals. They could only manage three goals however and did squander some chances whilst keeping the Seagulls to just four behinds.
Conditions were difficult for goal kicking with only Ferguson, two for the winners; George and Staley, two each for North Ballarat able to split the middle more than once. Williamstown had good players all over the ground including Lambert, Mangan, Nick Sing and Sean Tighe. Better players for North Ballarat were Lockyer who racked up 25 disposals and took 15 marks, Aaron Mullett with a game-high 34 disposals and 13 marks, Warren and midfielder Liam Anthony.
The final round of home-and-away action sees Williamstown away to Sandringham in a good warm up for the finals. North Ballarat faces top team Port Melbourne at North Port Oval. In the corresponding game last year the Roosters had a stirring win over the Borough. Trailing all day, they rallied to kick four goals to nil in the last quarter to win by ten points.