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MPNFL: Wickers stand tall

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June 6, 2018 by admin

BERWICK has continued its improvement under Dean Rice with a 49-point victory over arch rival Beaconsfield in their MPNFL Casey Cardinia League elimination final last Sunday.
Nanjing Night Net

The Wickers produced a stifling four-quarter performance in beautiful conditions at Toomuc Reserve to win 14.10 (94) to 6.9 (45).

The victory was set up by four goals to zero in the third term with Rice believing the warm conditions had suited his young team.

“The guys really stood up today,” he said. “The conditions suited us. We’re a pretty young team and the way we like to play is to run on the top of the ground and move the ball quickly and get it into our forward line.”

The Wickers’ win marked the end of Beaconsfield coach Austinn Jones’ tenure after three seasons in charge. He has signed as VFL club Bendigo Gold’s coach for next season.

Jones said he leaves the Eagles with a twinge of disappointment, with his assistant coach Clint Evans set to take the reins.

“It’s really disappointing actually, I’m a Beaconsfield boy and I grew up here and lived here for a long time,” he said.

“Basically my three years have brought the club no success which is the most disappointing thing because that’s why they brought me on to win the ultimate prize and we didn’t get it.”

The Wickers now clash with Tooradin-Dalmore in Sunday’s elimination semi-final at Berwick.

Rice gives his team a strong chance of moving into the preliminary final given that six weeks ago his team’s finals chances were hanging by a thread.

“I said to the guys that we’ve got to be confident in our own abilities and today was our first step,” he said.

The Eagles’ first half was summed up by Kris Fletcher giving away a 50-metre penalty followed by another 50 metres when Rob Taylor argued the decision, much to Jones’s chagrin.

Both sides missed early chances in the second half. Youngster Jordy Andrews booted the first of the second half to extend the Wickers’ lead to 26 points. Nathan Waite then booted his third, following a miss just moments before, after a strong mark.

The Wickers’ greater commitment to the contest was telling, Waite and Andrews both receiving plenty of the opportunities from influential defender Bryce Rutherford and midfielder Madison Andrews.

Waite’s fourth goal stretched the margin to 39 points and Andrews’ third and fourth ensured the Wickers went into the final term with a 50-point lead.

The big difference between the teams was the dominant forwards of the Wickers with Waite and Andrews combining for 10 majors, while no Eagle kicked multiple goals.

Luke Bee-Hugo and Taylor each battled hard for Beacy but their lack of a dominant key forward was telling.

Jones said Evans’ priority on the recruiting front must be to secure a power forward.

CASEY CARDINIA FINALS

SATURDAY

Second semi-final at Pakenham: Narre Warren v Cranbourne, 2.15pm

Reserves:Narre Warren v Berwick, 11.45am

SUNDAY

First semi-final at Berwick: Tooradin-Dalmore v Berwick, 2.15pm.

Reserves: Cranbourne v ROC, 11.45am

Under pressure: Beaconsfield’s Daniel Battaglin boots the ball out of defence in their elimination final loss to Berwick on Saturday. Picture: Lucy Di Paolo


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