Williamstown weathers storm in 19-point win against Sandringham
From Hobsons Bay Leader
Reported by Paul Amy
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YESTERDAY'S match at the Trevor Barker Oval started in delightful autumn sunshine and finished in rain and lightning strikes.
The weather didn't hold, but Williamstown's lead over Sandringham did.
Using a strong wind to the "Can Hill" end, the Seagulls surged clear in the first quarter and maintained their lead throughout.
Only just. Led by ace recruits Myke Cook and Adam Cockie, the Zebras made a run at them in a stirring final quarter.
A snap from Zebra forward Beau Wilkes, an over-the-shoulder job from in front, reduced the Willy lead to eight points, then Sam Ledger put one through at the 27-minute mark to make it one point.
With forwards from both teams pushing up the ground, possessions were contested with ferocity through the middle of the ground.
You'd have thought the players were fighting for a gold bar.
Willy dug in, earning breathing space when Zeph Skinner, a player capable of bursts of brilliance, snapped a terrific goal.
Two more, one from Tom Hill when he marked uncontested at the top of the goalsquare, stubbed out Sandy's resistance.
The Zebras had their chances in the final quarter, as they did in the second when they had the wind.
A string of shots sailed wide and they finished with one more scoring shot, but 19 points adrift.
Chris Irving in particular did not have the truest of boots.
It was Sandy's second consecutive loss at home - Coburg Tigers knocked them over in Round 3 - and some steam has been sucked from their impressive first fortnight.
This Saturday they play Collingwood at Victoria Park in the ABC TV match.
Asked about winning at Sandringham, Williamstown coach Peter German said: "Well Coburg did beat them here two weeks ago and we felt that maybe it was a sign they'd changed their game style a bit and their style, does it suit Trevor Barker Oval?
"I'm not too sure. So that gave us a bit of heart."
He said his team should gain confidence from withstanding Sandringham's rally.
German praised young defender Steve Witkowski. "I thought he was outstanding. He's a good boy. He knows the game, reads it well. We're really excited to have him."
Curiously, Sandy named Witkowski's opponent, Wilkes, as their best.
Sandringham 0.2 3.10 6.12 11.16 (82)
Williamstown 5.4 8.7 11.10 15.11 (101)
Sandringham: Cockie 2 Wilkes 2 Peake Ledger Archer Cook Hallahan Siposs Howes
Williamstown: Skinner 3 Hooper 3 McNamara 2 Hill 2 Greenwood Cravino Jolley Redpath Dickson
Sandringham: Wilkes Dowler Cook Cockie Ray Gram
Williamstown: Witkowski McNamara Campbell Wall Jolley Hooper