Throwback Thursday: Seagulls snap seven-year drought
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Williamstown has finally had a more enjoyable trip down the Western Freeway after a battle with North Ballarat, winning their first game away against the Roosters at Eureka Stadium since Round 19, 2005.
In what was a crunch game – with both sides having only recorded one win for the season – the Seagulls pushed away in the third term to record an important victory early in the season.
Williamstown got the jump on the home side, kicking the first goal of the game through Jason Johannisen just two minutes into the match.
Early inaccuracy hampered the Seagulls, and despite their early dominance, they were only able to add 1.5 early in the quarter.
North Ballarat was able to shut down the visitors’ early control of the midfield, but this did not stop Seagull Jason Tutt adding his first goal at the 19-minute mark.
North Ballarat was struggling to find targets inside their forward 50, but Derick Micallef tried to lift his team late in the term with goal of the day to reduce the margin to 10 points.
The Roosters were unable to stop Williamstown recording a late goal just before the quarter time siren through Tom Hill, with the Seagulls going into the break with a 16-point lead.
The midfield dominance of Williamstown was on show early in the second quarter, with Mitch Wallis and Justin Sherman in damaging form, both kicking early goals.
The visitors quickly jumped out to a 29-point lead just 10 minutes into the term, and North Ballarat was struggling for answers.
Midway through the quarter the Roosters began to open up more space inside forward 50, and their key targets in Aaron Black, Micallef and Billy Driscoll all benefitted, each adding a major to reduce the margin back to just seven points into time on.
Despite getting right back into the contest, the Roosters were struggling to contain the depth of tall timber for the Seagulls, with Hill, Jake Redpath and Tom Campbell all combining well up forward and in the ruck for Williamstown.
Hill kicked his second for the match late in the term to extend the margin back out to 13 points, but when Driscoll missed at late opportunity before half time, the margin was 12 points.
The third term was when Williamstown took control of the game, racing out to a lead by as much as 31 points.
Goals to Daniel Pearce and Patrick Veszpremi to open the term exploited the Roosters’ lack of defensive pressure, with Veszpremi drifting down from half back for his first goal of the game.
Whilst the Roosters were able to add two goals for the term to Matt Austin and Black, goals to Redpath and Michael Stockdale saw Williamstown take a commanding 26-point lead heading into the final term.
Keen not to sink to their third successive home ground defeat for the season, North Ballarat opened the final term full of fight.
Despite controlling play in the opening stages of the final term inside their forward 50, the Roosters were only able to show three behinds for their efforts.
Their early good work was diminished after Williamstown kicked the opening goal of the quarter against the run of play, and when the Seagulls added the next two goals in a row, the 42-point margin mid way through the quarter saw the result beyond doubt.
Whilst Cruize Garlett finally added the Roosters first goal of the final term to cap off a serviceable game, Williamstown made sure their first win in seven years at Eureka Stadium would be a memorable one, kicking the final three goals of the game to run out 52-point winners.
After the came Williamstown coach Peter German was satisfied with the win, especially recognising its significance to both sides early in the season.
“I was tempted prior to the game of putting up the equation of winning or losing ... I think we really wanted to focus on our processes and our roles. This week we had a lot more individual roles for player that made them focus on the team rather than individual,” German said.
“To come up here and win, especially in their (North Ballarat) situation where they have not been travelling well, so they were hungry as well, it is satisfying.”
Despite being two players short in the second half, with Jason Tutt and Tory Dickson unable to return to the field, German was pleased how his side ran out the game.
“We came off a six-day break, so it was important for us that we tried to work our rotations, but it was good that we could maintain our control of the game even when we looked tired,” he said.
Williamstown this week heads to Sandringham on Sunday, whilst North Ballarat head to North Port Oval to try and break the 25-game winning run of Port Melbourne.
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