THE Murray Bushrangers have scored a critical 8 point victory against the Western Jets at Burbank Arena in Williamstown.
Based on the edge of Port Phillip Bay, the wintery effect was certainly evident with an icy wind blowing towards the water’s edge. The match was the final game of the three round Futures Rounds section of the draw when every team must play a minimum 11 bottom aged players.
The Bushrangers played 12 in each game, whilst also utilising the games to allow their three 19 year old players to get VFL games. With AFL All Australian selection, Ben Paton representing Victoria Country, while Issacs Wallace and Nick Richards spent time with Werribee and Williamstown along with their home clubs.
The Bushrangers started the game kicking the opening goal and controlling the quarter with the advantage of the cross breeze. With a 19 point lead at the first break the Bushrangers were in control across the ground. Assistant Coach, Ben Davey used the three future games to rotate players through positions and with three debutants against Western in Jake Bradshaw (Wodonga Raiders), Michael Oates (Lavington) and Tom O’Brien (Albury); it was an opportunity to assess the bottom age players.
The second and third terms saw the Bushrangers’ struggle to maintain their ascendancy but stayed in the contest leading by 17 points at half time and 18 points at the final change. The final term saw the Bushrangers’ defence stand tall under enormous pressure with injuries to Jacob Koschitzke and Laitham Vandermeer ruled out in the first half. Ely Smith and Michael Oates stood tall in the final term despite playing their third and first games for the Bushrangers.’
Angus Hicks played an excellent game through the midfield, while ruckman Mark Marriott played his best game to date winning numerous ruck contests and possessions around the ground. Zane Barzen was effective giving great linking play from defence to attack playing on the wing, and Jessy Wilson pushed high up the ground to create play. Kyle Clarke again stood tall winning contested football with Will Donaghey great drive from defence with run, carry and creativity. Major goal kickers for the contest in tough conditions were Hudson Garoni 2, Kyle Clarke 2 and singles to Matt Walker, David Smith, captain, Daniel Johnston and Will Donaghey.
Next weekend will see the Murray Bushrangers venture to Shepparton for the first time this season, taking on Calder Cannons at Deakin Reserve on Sunday, July 16 at 1pm.