PANTHERS TACKLE THEIR TASK SUPERBLY
Sunday 12 July 2009
The Morningside juggernaut continued to build momentum with a punishing 70-point win over third-placed Redland at Victoria Point yesterday.
Morningside’s relentless tackling pressure was a highlight, giving the Bombers little time to make clean disposals.
When Redland did have time, they made some uncharacteristically sloppy handballs that led to turnovers and opposition goals early in the game that proved costly.
The result was a stunning 25.12 (162) to 13.14 (92) victory to the Panthers, made all the more impressive by the fact that gun ruckman Jacob Gough was sidelined for the final three quarters.
Morningside were relentless with their pressure from the outset and super-efficient in front of goal.
They led 6.2 to 1.4 at quarter-time and only looked vulnerable for a 15-minute period of the second term when Gough had left the ground with a hamstring twinge.
Gough’s ruckwork was superb in the first term, working brilliantly with Paul Shelton opposed to Redland ace Jeff White.
White nonetheless did some good things about the ground and Gough’s absence robbed the game of what was brewing as a superb one-on-one contest between its best two big men.
White dominated the ruck knocks for the quarter-hour period and the Bombers drew to within 21 points at the 18-minute mark of the second term.
However, Morningside’s tackling pressure never relented and the midfield readjusted and reasserted itself in time-on, kicking the last 2.3 of the term.
The Panthers then blasted three goals in the opening four minutes of the third term to effectively seal the issue, getting numbers around the ball and swooping on the spillage from their tackling pressure.
“It’s something we’ve been working on since Round 1 although the last few weeks we’ve been working on it more and it’s a case of getting everyone to understand that is what they have to do,” Shelton said of the fanatical tackling.
Bombers coach Matthew Francis went into the clash with a plan for each of his players to go head-to-head with a single opponent, so Shelton was matched by Bomber Phil Carse.
It was a fascinating battle for three quarters, with Francis releasing his players in the final term after trailing by 64 points at the last break.
Shelton collected 35 possessions and Carse 36, with Carse grabbing 13 in a final term where he really flew the flag for his side.
Shelton was super damaging with his gets, his 10 in the first quarter setting up numerous scoring opportunities.
Josh Norman took on David Lillico and while Norman did plenty of good things, Lillico was extra damaging in the first half when the game was won.
Jack Lawler continued his brilliant form, scything through the Bombers from half-back and tackling strongly to match his output with the ball.
Redland opted to play regular centre-half-forward Adam Mueller at centre-half-back on Kent Abey, who has a history of kicking big scores against the Bombers.
It was a fascinating duel, with Abey taking a number of strong contested marks to finish with 5.1, and Mueller winning many one-one duels and rebounding for his team.
He went to centre-half-forward in the last term and kicked 2.2 in a lively display.
Brett Connell (pictured)did well against returning full-forward Jason Eagle, conceding 1.1 and one on the full in the first half, before rucking in the second.
Eagle took one sensational big pack mark, but let himself down with his kicking at goal (2.3), although the delivery to him was mostly ordinary.
The big win that Redland did enjoy was Matt Thomson against the dangerous Nathan Kinch, the dogged little Bomber limiting Kinch’s possessions and influence on the game.
While was lion-hearted in the ruck, taking a number of bumps and hits throwing himself into the fray and always looking dangerous when floating forward, kicking 3.2.
Morningside’s victory took the Panthers to a two-game break at the top of the Velocity Sports Cup premiership table following Southport’s loss at the Gabba.