Round 3 Match Report - Dragons Take The Chocolates On Easter Saturday At Shepley

In sunny and slight windy conditions, the Stingrays welcomed cross border rivals the Sandringham Dragons at Shepley Oval for the Round 3 TAC Cup clash. In the end the Dragons took control in the 3rd quarter and won by 12 points, but it wasn’t a pretty game to watch as skill sets from both teams were far from expected for the TAC Cup. 

The first quarter saw the Stingrays start with good intensity in the middle with Kieran Tuke and James Hammond playing as undersized Ruckman who tapped well to give the mids first use. The tackling pressure inside the Stingrays 50 was a highlight in the first which resulted in two great goals to Taylor Garner. A few minutes later after good work to keep the ball inside 50 by Matt Rennie who kicked truly after a 50 metre penalty, but from there the young Stingrays were overusing the ball and making too many mistakes. In the mean time Sandringham had grown in confidence and lifted their intent, which eventually allowed them to score against the swirly wind which was slightly favoring the Northern end of the ground, which the Stingrays were kicking to. The quarter ended with 16 inside 50’s for the Stingrays whilst the backs had kept the Sandringham forwards markless inside their 50 with both of their goals coming from nice crumbing work by their smalls. The Stingrays had focused heavily on 1%ers and getting first use of the ball in the middle, 5 to 2 in their favor by the end of the first quarter. 

The second quarter started well for the Stingrays with the first goal going to Matt Rennie but some sloppy defence allowed Sandringham to kick their first a few minutes later. Sandringham had a lot of the play and peppered the goals but poor kicking on goal kept the Stingrays ahead on the scoreboard at half time due to the late snapped goal by 19 year old Nic Newman. Sandringham had got themselves back into the game by quick ball movement and creating one-on-one in the forwardline and Stingrays Coach Graeme Yeats was asking for a similar outcome from the players during the half time break. 

The third quarter was similar to the first half with both sides have 10 minutes patches but both weren’t troubling the scoreboard too much. Sandringham again hit the goals through a defensive turnover in the back half. It took the Stingrays 5 minutes into the quarter to penetrate deep inside their 50 to a great contested mark to Taylor Garner who kicked truly. A quick movement out of the middle gave another goal to Rennie, followed by a great stoggage snap to youngster Billy Hartung gave the Stingrays a little breathing room on the scoreboard, but sloppy defence again opened the door and Sandringham goaled just before the siren to close the gap to 10 points. A sour point to the quarter was a suspected arm fracture to midfielder Damien Lawrence. Over all it was even in stats with inside 50 both sides having 9 a piece, but Sandringham had 9 rebounds resulting in 4 scoring opportunities. Through the middle both had 3 centre breaks but Sandringham had looked slightly cleaner with the ball.                                                                                       

The start of the last quarter wasn’t the perfect start the Stingrays wanted with Sandringham scoring the first goal in the first 2 minutes of the game. The next five minutes saw a lot of ball movement between the arcs with both sides having trouble penetrating the defence due to great midfield pressure. Taylor Garner took his 4th contested mark inside 50 resulting in his 4th goal for the day, followed by another Stingray goal through Scott Durdin after some great crumbing work off a stoppage inside 50 and it looked like the game was swinging the way of the Stingrays, but someone forgot to tell Sandringham who completely dominated the next 10 minutes and had 14 scoring opportunities to win the game by 12 points. It would have been a lot worse on the scoreboard if 11 of those shots weren’t minor scores.

Taylor Garner continued his fine form with another stand alone forward display, which is surely to catch the eye of Vic Country selectors. New debuting players Nic Newman, Nathan Foote and Angus Scott held their own but too many others top age players again let themselves down. Stingrays Coach Graeme Yeats said “Unlike last week we actually did very well at the stoppages and our mids got hold of the ball a lot, but must convert our chances. Sandringham were efficient when they went inside and were able to take contested marks, we managed 5 or 6 for the game inside our 50, 4 of those went to Garner. We need to continue to work on our execution as it is below the required standard to compete in this competition.” 

He went on to say “Even though we were restricted with a bench by 1 half way through the second, we had an extended bench so we should have been able to cover the loss of Lawrence. The effort overall was OK. It was very pleasing to see how hard we worked against the breeze in the last to kick 2 goals but undisciplined frees and poor defensive work allowed 15 shots on goal in a quarter was very disappointing. We will continue to expose and keep developing the next crop of players until we find the right balance.”   

Next weekend is a AFL Victoria TAC CUP triple header for all Country teams at QEO Oval In Bendigo on Saturday 14th April. The Dandenong Stingrays will take on North Ballarat Rebels at 1.00pm. Entry is Free. 


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