Williamstown have opened their account with a thrilling 1-point win over the Northern Blues in the opening round of the Peter Jackson VFL season at the newly named Ikon Park. The Blues had a chance to pinch the win late in the game however Williamstown defender Michael Gibbons out pointed the Blue’s Dylan Buckley in the goal square to take a game saving grab.
In accurate kicking didn’t help the Northern Blues cause as the Seagulls hung onto win 13.12.90 to 12.17.89. The Blues kicked with a slight breeze advantage in the first term favouring the Legends Stand end but it was Williamstown who opened the scoring.
They booted the first two goals through ex Blue Adam Marcon and ex-Saint Sam Dunell before former Western Bulldog Jason Tutt put the Blues on the board. The Blues squandered chances on goal in the first term but led 3.7.25 to the Seagulls 2.1.13 at the first change.
Blaine Johnson goaled early into the second term and the Blues had kicked four-in-row to lead by 18 points. However the Seagulls fought back and when Nick Sing snapped truly they went to the sheds leading at half-time by five points - 7.4.46 to 5.11.41.
Tutt continued to shine in the third quarter booting two goals as the Blues regained the lead. Former GWS Giant Mark Whiley and Nick Graham found plenty of the sherrin through the middle while ex Bulldog Kieran McGuiness and Tom Fields were on top down back.
At three-quarter-time the Blues held a slender five point lead - 9.15.69 to 9.10.64. The Seagulls were fighting hard and were kicking to the scoring end in the final term.
Whiley converted not long after the restart to have Blues' fans cheering in the Gardiner Stand. They were out to an eleven point lead and it appeared the home side had the momentum.
Williamstown had other ideas however. Mitch Banner inspired his teammates with a thumping goal from outside fifty at the nine minute mark to put Williamstown in front.
Goals to the dangerous Dunell and then Brad Mangan at the 18-minute mark extended the lead to 14-points. The Blues hit back through the hard running Buckley and then Johnson was awarded a fifty metre penalty from which he converted, reducing the margin to one-point with 24 minutes on the clock.
The Blues had a couple of chances late to pinch the match but the siren beat them to end a thrilling final quarter. Dunell was the only multiple goal kicker for the Seagulls with two while for the Blues, Tutt booted three and Johnson two.
Better players for Williamstown included defender Peter Faulks who won his duel with Matthew Watson, Dunell was dangerous up forward, Banner and Mangan while for the Blues, Tutt (28 disposals, 3 goals), Fields (22, 10 marks) who had the job on Scott Clouston, Robbie Warnock in the ruck (35 hit outs) and Graham (27).
Williamstown play Sandringham in their first match at home in round two while the Northern Blues are away to Port Melbourne on Anzac Day.