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Footscray set for Port battle

From the Western Bulldogs Official Website
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Comment Thread - http://www.vflfooty.com/node/9537

Footscray will take on the ninth-placed Port Melbourne in what is a must-win match to keep the Borough’s final chances alive.

Bulldogs coach Ashley Hansen said that he expected a tough match with Port Melbourne fighting for a finals spot.

“We are expecting nothing less than the Port Melbourne Football Club we have known for the past decade.

“A really proud club with experienced players will always respond to the opportunity to stay in touch with the finals so we will be prepared for that.”

The Bulldogs welcome back senior vice-captain Jordan Roughead who has missed the last three weeks with a foot complaint.

Fletcher Roberts also returns from injury after a four-week layoff and both are expected to take on key defensive roles.

“For both Jordan and Fletcher our main aim for the weekend is to return to playing football and gain significant match fitness and game sense after being out with their respective injuries,” Hansen said.

“Both are valued members of the squad so tomorrow is an important step in their rehab and return for AFL selection in the coming weeks.”

Footscray posted a big result last weekend against the top ranked Williamstown, and Hansen said it’s important for his side to maintain that form and carry momentum.

“The focus each week for our players is to continue to build their games around the role they are assigned and collectively performing as one unit.

“The strength of our team is determined by our actions for one another so that mentality is really important that we sustain after last week.”

From the Leader Group Newspapers
Reported by Megan Hustwaite
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IT WAS crucial Box Hill set the tone against Port Melbourne in its VFL blockbuster on Saturday.

The Hawks weren’t rapt with their starts in recent weeks, while last round the Borough burst out of the blocks slamming on 12 first-quarter goals against North Ballarat.

The Hawks spoke about it during the week, pre-match at Box Hill City Oval and then put their plans into ­action kicking 5.4 to 1.5 in the opening stanza.

They added another three majors, while restricting Port to just one in the second term, and went on to win ­emphatically, 17.13 (115) to 8.12 (60).

Coach Marco Bello was full of praise for his side, which is now sitting pretty at 6-1 and top of the ladder.

“Port kicked 12.5 in the opening quarter last week and, on average, have won their first quarters by 18 points,” he said. “We haven’t started well and we needed to against Port and then make it a stalemate.

‘’They haven’t blown sides away but their good starts have helped them hold on to win five games.

“You’re never totally satisfied as a coach, but I thought we played very well for three and a half quarters.

From the Port Phillip Leader and www.localfooty.com.au
Reported by Paul Amy
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WHEN Gary Ayres had his first interview at Port Melbourne, its then president Peter Saultry told him the club was looking for a 10-year coach.

The former Hawthorn champion did not imagine he would be at the Borough for that long.

Coaching positions are about as secure as a tent in a tornado, as Ayres found at Adelaide. Besides, he thought there might be other roles for him in the AFL.

But here he is in his eighth season in charge of Port and preparing for his 150th match as comfortably the club’s longest serving coach.

The milestone, against Williamstown at Port Gellibrand on Sunday, coincides with his champion midfielder Chris Cain’s 150th senior game.

“That makes it more special, to share it with ‘Caino’,’’ he said.

From the Port Phillip Leader
Reported by Paul Amy
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A NEW VFL season and a fresh young hope for Port Melbourne.

Blake Pearson popped up for three senior appearances for the Borough last year after being recruited from the Dandenong Stingrays.

After one, teammate Hugh Sandilands gave him a prank phone call, pretending to be a pressman and mixing questions with put-downs. It was a classic stitch-up.

On Saturday Pearson, a stocky but pacy 174cm right-footer, stitched up the Northern Blues for four goals to help Port to a 23-point victory at a cold and wet North Port Oval.

Two of his goals came in the final quarter, which the Borough had started only two points to the good.

In tough conditions they slowly got on top of the Blues, a touch stronger, a tad cleaner and steadier for the experience of captain Chris Cain, Nathan Batsanis, Hugh Sandilands and key defenders Will Johnson and Dan Noonan.

From the Herald Sun
Reported by Paul Amy
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THE 2015 VFL season kicks off on Friday with Werribee hosting Geelong under lights. Leader sports editor Paul Amy rounds up each club’s ins and outs.

BOX HILL HAWKS

Coach: Marco Bello

Last year: runner-up to Footscray Bulldogs

In: Cadeyn Williams (Richmond), Jack Sandric (Hobart City), Lochie Adey, James Handley (Blackburn), Matthew Burt, Chris Jones, Liam Kidd, Matthew Traynor (Eastern Ranges), Billy Murphy, Sam Switkowski (Northern Knights), James Sullivan (Tatura), Patrick Dillon (Donvale), Xavier Dimasi (Assumption/Calder Cannons), Ben Fitzpatrick (Korumburra/Bena), Dalton Graham (Sandringham).

Out: Luke Andrews, Callan Burns, Corey Cassidy, Sam Cust, Jackson Eade, Tom Goodwin, Jake Kalanj, Tom Miles, Xavier Murphy, Matt Northe, Nick Papadopoulos, Kalem Post, Michael Thompson, Brandon Wood.

The verdict: the Hawks have lost top-line midfielders in Xavier Murphy and Luke Andrew as well as the emerging Brandon Wood. But they’ve picked up former Tiger Cadeyn Williams and have good young players coming through in support of senior men Sam Iles, David Mirra, Marc Lock and Liam Tobin. Premiers in 2013 and runners-up last year, there’s no reason to think there will be a slackening of standards.

Player watch: Mitch O’Donnell. He’s as hard as a coffin nail and he’ll be granted more opportunity after an excellent pre-season.

Celebrating season 2014 with the Casey Scorpions and A Positive Move

Click on read more for a full club by club report.

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