Frankston returns to winners list
It had been a long wait for the first win of Patrick Hill’s senior coaching career in the Peter Jackson VFL but his Frankston troops delivered a break-through triumph on Saturday.
Hill had coached the Dolphins in 20 consecutive losses since the start of the 2015 season, but Frankston’s 13-point comeback victory over Richmond at Frankston Oval finally added to the ‘W’ column.
After suffering a 144-point defeat at the hands of the Casey Scorpions in Round 1, the Dolphins rebounded with a spirited performance in a 38-point loss to Werribee in Round 2. Hill further fuelled belief in his players against the Tigers though, as they recovered from a 29-point deficit at quarter time to steamroll their opponents in the final term.
Frankston’s overall losing streak stretched back to Round 17, 2014 (24 straight games), a time when Hill was an assistant coach under Marco Bello at the Box Hill Hawks. The previous round, it had knocked off Collingwood by 17 points at Frankston Oval, with current Sydney rookie Nic Newman the team’s best player and former captain Shane Hockey also influential.
This time around, it was the likes of off-season recruits Michael Sikora in the ruck and Andrew McInnes in defence, and goalkickers Nathan Gardiner (four majors) and Brandon Wood (three) who helped spur the Dolphins to victory.
Another influential player was reigning dual best and fairest winner Ben Cavarra. At just 20 years of age, the 175cm midfielder stood in as captain for the suspended Jason Pongracic and can now add another line to an impressive CV that also includes the 2013 Morrish Medal and two best and fairest awards while at the Eastern Ranges, as well as the best-on-ground medal while captain in the club’s 2013 TAC Cup premiership triumph.
*Photo: Cameron Grimes