2016 Round 1 Under 16's vs Stony Creek

The footy’s back! The Phillip Island U16’s played the Alberton league’s season opener against the Stony Creek Lions at the Cowes ground on Saturday morning. The Easter weekend is traditionally one of the biggest days of the year and Saturday was no different with locals and visitors arriving at the ground early for a big day of football.

The pup’s line-up is largely unchanged from the team that went agonisingly close to winning a preliminary final last year. Zac Wagner has again taken up the reins as coach and Brodie Anderson has returned as captain. However, he was a late withdrawal from the match on Saturday following a call up to the Bulldog’s senior team. He watched his team mates from the side-line before making his senior football debut later in the day. He played on the wing, got plenty of the ball and proved that he was a deserving pick for the first round clash. 

In addition to the large crowd, the match was adjudicated by league umpires which added to the sense of occasion. The opening quarter started with Phillip Island’s Tarq McMillan winning the first tap out. He went on to dominate all day. The ball went to ground and was quickly picked up by the pup’s onballers and driven into the forward line. The contest got a little scrappy with both teams going in hard and some first match nerves early. Max Mattock swooped and snapped but scored a point. The pup’s set their zone and made it very difficult for the Lions to get out of their back line. The pup’s forward pressure was intense and they were rewarded with a free kick seconds late, Billy Taylor used the advantage and scored the first major. Bailey Sutherland started well, along with Connor Thompson and Nick Anderson. Big man Zane Mattock seemed to be everywhere including flying for every pack mark.

Stony struggled all day to break free of the pup’s zone and were only able to move the ball past their fifty metre line a handful of times all game. The pup’s forwards were inaccurate in front of goal all day and only scored 1 goal and 7 points by the ten minute mark. They redeemed themselves late in the quarter with Mat Freeman working his way into the game and kicking two goals. Stony Creek finally made their way forward and showed some skill when they ran the ball, but a tackle from Zac Bennett in the square saved a certain goal. The pups rebounded quickly kicking to Nick Anderson who marked and handballed before running on, he received the ball on the grandstand wing and then ran into the forward pocket and kicked one of the goals of the day. The pups finished the quarter with 4 goals, 7 points.

The second quarter saw the pups extend their lead and dominate the game. They had the majority of possession and despite a solid effort from the Lions, the Bulldog’s were unstoppable. Max Mattock was a stand out. Jarrod Pearsall and Nick D’ Angelo were causing problems for their opponents.

The pups look bigger and stronger this year, the return of Brandon Lloyd has given them another target upfront and taken some of the pressure off Mat Freeman. Brandon has had a few years away playing other sports but returned this year and kicked a bag of goals in his first game back. He opened his account early in the second and kicked another minutes later. Billy Taylor kicked his second late in the quarter and Freeman finished with a further 3 goals before half time.

The remainder of the game played out much the same as the first half. The Lions tried their best but were outgunned by the pup’s intensity and pressure. The pup’s played well but first game nerves and some rusty skills let them down a little. By three quarter time they+ had kicked 13 goals and 20 points. They finished with 18 majors and 24 behinds. Their inaccuracy in front of goal didn’t cause too many problems against Stony Creek this week, but Coach Zac Wagner won’t be happy and will be looking for a big improvement against Fish Creek next week. 

 Phillip Island 18.25.133 def Stony Creek 1.2.8

Goal Kickers: M. Freeman 8, B. Lloyd 4, M. Mattock 2, B. Taylor 2, T. McMillan, N. Anderson
Best Players: M. Mattock, T. McMillan, M. Freeman, B. Lloyd, N. Anderson, N. D''Angelo