Week 1 Finals - Stingrays pump Rebels advancing to Preliminary Final

on 11 September 2018
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DANDENONG Stingrays continue to send a threatening warning to their fellow finalists with a comprehensive performance against the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. The Stingrays jumped the GWV Rebels early and never took the foot off, winning by 110 points to book a spot in the preliminary finals. 

Dandenong started off the game on fire, completely dominating the GWV Rebels in the opening term, but wayward shots on goal kept the Rebels full of hope until Lachlan McDonnell made the most of his opportunity on the run, nailing the first goal of the game. This opened the gate with livewire Ned Cahill nailing 2 majors and the welcome return from injury Riley Bowman out-marked his opponent on the lead and converted, which saw the Stingrays up by 28 at the first change. 

Jai Taylor was built for IKON, in a just a few minutes into the quarter he split the middle with a very classy on the run goal. Sam Fletcher and Matt Cottrell joined in making it three in the first 10 minutes giving the Stingrays a 50-point plus lead. 

The Rays smalls were enjoying the space of IKON and the marking dominance of the Stingrays forwards with Cahill somehow conjuring something out of nothing in the goal square to push the margin to 55 points. Finlay Bayne then pushed it beyond 10 goals off a Rebels error to nail a goal from a running shot. 

Dandenong kept piling on the pressure, and back-to-back goals to Captain Campbell Hustwaite and Bailey Williams. 

In a moment of weakness, the Rays defence allowed the Rebels’ an easy mark and goal to avoid a goalless first half. Then remarkably, a free kick and 50-metre penalty on the siren resulted in consecutive goals to the Rebels, who trailed by 63 points at the main break. 

Sam Sturt looked uncomfortable at the end of the second and didn’t return to the field for the second half, with the Stingrays putting him on ice for the following week. 

There was a noticeable lift in intensity by the Rebels, having multiple attacks inside 50 but couldn’t get the reward for effort on the scoreboard. The missed chance allowed a great end-to-end play which resulted in a great running goal to Jake Frawley. The Stingrays were coming once again with Toby Bedford was having a ripper of a game cutting up through the midfield, joined equally by Zac Foot and Cottrell giving the Rays more shots on goals, disappointingly though all resulting in minor scores. 

Bedford’s fantastic game saw him get reward for effort with a great running goal to evade an opponent and nail the goal straight on. The Rebels were playing much better in the third term, but the Stingrays pace and determination to win the football was crushing for the GWV Rebels side. Another late term goal to McDonnell – his second of the game – put the margin out to 82 points. 

The first inside 50 of the fourth term saw back-to-back shots for Dandenong, resulting in minor scores before the goal of the game came through Stephen Cumming. Tucked against the boundary line after a terrific contested mark, he bent around with an unbelievable snap which sailed through and pushed the Stingrays beyond 100 points. 

The Rebels got one against the flow after making the most of their opportunity with a standard set shot goal. Bayne responded for the Stingrays, sneaking forward into space, marking off a clever centring pass from Cahill, and kicked truly from the set shot. Then Cahill had a second goal assist in as many minutes, handballing to McDonnell in the square who kicked truly. 

The siren was looming but not before Cahill made it four majors, marking alone inside 50 and converting perfectly with a straight set shot. If that was not enough, Luca Goonan ended the game with a perfect snap on goal making it 13 separate goal kickers on the day. 

Stingrays Talent Manager spoke after the game, with high praise given to the entire squad. 

“This group have been setting the standard week in week out since November 2017, they challenge each other rather than having the coaches and support staff having to step in too often. 

“We play on smaller ground at Shepley Oval, which we can play contested football very well on, but have been looking forward to the back end of the year to get on the bigger decks as I think the team is better suited to the longer and wider grounds.” 

 

“ Everyone who plays football in the TAC Cup is aiming to play in September as long as possible, today on an AFL ground in perfect conditions our players and staff got the opportunity to enjoy spring weather- but in 7- days’ time if we don’t perform the season is over so we quickly move to celebrating the win, head off to rehab as a group and start the process of preparation for the Preliminary Final against the Dragons who are a very good side.”