Preliminary Final Match Report - Season over for Stingrays

on 21 September 2017
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Story written by Nick Greely, Dandenong Star news group. 

The Dandenong Stingrays battled hard but were ultimately outclassed by a hardened Geelong Falcons outfit in Sunday’s preliminary final at Simonds Stadium. 

After an even first quarter, the ‘Rays got the jump in the second quarter to take a 12-point half-time lead, but ultimately the likes of Cassidy Parish, James Worpel and Cooper Stephens got on top in the middle, with the Falcons running away with a 10-goal to two last half. 

Although it ends the season prematurely for the ‘Rays, who finished third at the end of the home-and-away season, coach Craig Black said his side never stopped trying against a class outfit who will go in as favourites in the decider at Etihad Stadium on Sunday. 

“The initial reaction was disappointment when you make it so far – we gave it every opportunity and we were up by two goals at half time and had the first three scoring shots of the third quarter but just couldn’t capitalise,” he said. 

“All of a sudden we were 21-points at three quarter time, and we were just coming from a bit too far back against a really good side. 

“When you make it to the top four, you play some really quality opponents who aren’t just going to roll over – we had some opportunities but didn’t take them.” 

It’s been another highly successful campaign for the club out of Shepley Oval, with several young starts emerging out of the season. 

“The first final, we had ten 17-year-olds playing, and on Sunday we had nine playing – to make it so far, and to give some 17-year-olds an early start in their development is a positive and hopefully it gives them an advantage heading into next year,” Black said. 

“We’re really proud as a club of our program; we played a couple of finals in a really tough competition and got to develop our boys so we look at it as a success for sure. 

“That’s what our program is all about for these young men, giving them an opportunity at TAC Cup and try and develop them to go as far as they can – our coaches and parents put in a lot of time and effort so it’d be great to be given a bit of a reward (on draft night).” 

Several Stingrays will feature on AFL Grand Final week, looking to make their names in front of AFL recruiters on the biggest week on the footballing calender in Victoria. 

 

“We’ve got the Futures Game next Friday before the grand final, so we have Bailey Williams, Bailey Schimdt, Riley Bowman, Will Hamill and Mitch Riordan all playing which is great for us, and then on grand final day we have the 18-year-olds in Aiden Bonar, Hunter Clark, Oscar Clavarino and Luke Davies playing on the ‘G, so it’s a great representation of our region,” Black said.