Round 16 - 2018 TAC Cup Minor Premiers

on 28 August 2018
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An impressive 2018 Dandenong Stingray unit has closed off the TAC Cup home and away season with an 8-goal win against the third placed Sandringham Dragons to claim the 2018 TAC Cup minor premiership on the final day of the regular season. 

Even more impressive the Stingrays now prepare to embark on their 15th consecutive finals campaign, still chasing that elusive Cup. 

The Stingrays lead from start to finish is a high scoring affair with final scores 14.9 (93) to 6.10 (46) that was played in perfect spring conditions at Trevor Baker Reserve, Sandringham. 

With a nearly full-strength squad for both sides it was deemed match of the round with 1 v 3 and the lead up into the game was near perfect for both sides with nearly a full depth of playing list to chose from. 

The Stingrays took full advantage of the conditions in the first quart as they dominated the opening term, but poor conversion on goals and a staller Dragons defence keep the game open (3.4 to 1.2) 

The Stingrays scored the first three goals, before leaking a costly turnover in the middle allowing the Dragons to kick their first goal at the 20-minute mark. 

The massive crowd joined the players and coaches at the first break, with Stingrays coach Craig Black pleased with the strong start but wanted more, with composure with the ball in hand a point made numerous times. 

The players responded, once again dominating the scoreboard but more impressive was the pack like attack on the opposition and loose ball. 

Fin Bayne, Bailey Williams and Sam Sturt continued to cause headaches for the Dragons kicking straight- something the Stingrays hadn’t done well in the past 5 previous games. 

When the sire sounded it was all one-way traffic on the scoreboard, with the Dragons held goalless for the term giving the Stingrays a 34 lead. 

The start of the third quarter is known as the premiership quarter and the Stingrays continued to dominate kicking 4 goals 1 point, whilst keeping the Dragons to 1 goal 6 points, mainly due to the defensive dominance and pressure. 

The only sour note for the quarter was Will Hamill’s day was done after copping friendly fire with a knee to the back. 

Matt Cummings nullified Ben King (touted top 5) to one goal for the game, whilst Matt Gahan, Lachlan Young and Lachlan Stenning continually rebounded the ball out denying the Dragons on the scoreboard. 

Another remarkable contributor was Dan Frampton who played well under height against the 3 prong Dragons attack. His ability to read the high ball, split the pack with ball in hand and kick to advantage down the ground on the day defiantly caught the eye of many. 

“We won four quarters on the day, but the Dragons played exceptional footy in the third and fourth quarters but couldn’t gain scoreboard pressure,” Stingrays Coach Craig Black said post-game. 

“We’ve been itching for a nice day and the players were really set for the challenge to play against a top four side before the finals.” 

“We took the game on as soon as the ball bounced, played with some flair with little regard, and it paid off.” 

“I was more pleased though we never gave in even though the game was over at the start of the last, this group has a lot of belief as we do in them.” 

Co-captain Campbell Hustwaite was again a stand-out as the lead the game with a season high 13 tackles, whilst a great return from a long injury lay-off to Co-Captain Mitch Riordan who played across half-back with his intercept skills on full show. 

Up forward Sam Sturt lead the way kicking 3 goals, whilst Bailey Williams past two games would be scaring most defenders. 

The strength of the Stingrays team would be the even spread of players who contribute on the day, this week Matt Cottrell took his game to another level and with the welcomed inclusion of Toby Bedford back from Melbourne Grammar his elite pressure in and around the ball takes the side to another level. 

The avenue to the scoreboard is also shared week in week out, with no reliance on one or two forwards to kick bags of goals, again this week there were 8 goal kickers with four players kicking multiple goals 

The Stingrays gain the week off this week, whilst the wild card rounds are played. They will face the winner of the Great Western Victorian Rebels versus Northern Knights game in a double header at Icon Park Saturday 8th September with the game starting at 11.45am (TBC). 

Talent Manager Mark Wheeler said, “We wanted to finish top four, which is a goal the players set at the start of the year. We secured top spot two weeks ago with a 15 (win) and one (loss) record.” 

 

“We know our best football is competitive against any of the teams left in the finals, we look forward to the challenge in two weeks’ time in a hope to stay alive for another week.”