Jets In Finals Contention
Western Jets soared into TAC Cup finals calculations after upsetting competition leaders Gippsland Power by 34 points at Shepley Oval on Saturday as Anna Harrington reports.
An immense first half gave the Jets an insurmountable 59-point lead at the main break before they held steady for a comprehensive 13.12 (90) to 8.8 (56) victory.
Jets ruck-forward Lachlan Fairley was a clear best on ground, kicking three goals amongst his 25 possessions and 10 marks, while Jordan Mead racked up 23 possessions through the midfield.
For the Power, half back Jack Johnstone performed solidly all game and kicked two goals, while Shaun Marusic provided a solid presence at centre half back.
With the victory elevating the Jets to seventh on the ladder, Jets stand-in coach Scott Korczynski said he was particularly pleased with his team’s ability to maintain the intensity shown in last week’s victory over Dandenong.
“I’m extremely proud of the boys, I think we’ve got a good group here and I spoke to the boys about getting consistency of effort… [after] we beat Dandenong last week [and] put a really good effort in,” Korczynski said.
“We were up against the top team in the competition [this week] and we’ve put together two really good efforts and hopefully that’s enough to get us into the eight.”
The Jets took advantage of two minor scores from Gippsland and registered the first goal of the match through Fairley, who snared a contested mark and converted from close range.
With a strong breeze behind them, the Jets maintained their intensity and with the ruck combination of Fairley and Dylan Jones feeding a willing midfield, kicked a total of six goals to one for a 33-point lead at quarter time.
The Jets powered on in the second term, controlling the midfield and playing cleverly into the wind, with three goals coming from marks inside 50 and Jaxon Cooke earning another close-range major from a 50-metre penalty.
Fairley’s third goal closed out an excellent quarter of contested football as the Jets kicked five goals to one to enter the main break ahead by 59, the greatest margin of the match.
Despite stepping up in the third quarter, the Power largely failed to capitalise on the scoreboard, with goals to Shannen Lange and Jordan Staley the visitors’ only majors for the quarter.
For the Jets, midfielder Kym Taylor stepped up, working hard across the ground and kicking his side’s only goal, ensuring the Jets held a 53-point lead at three quarter time.
The Jets maintained their composure in the final quarter, Jones kicking the opening major to seal the result, four goals to the Power merely consolation prizes.
Gippsland coach Adam Dowie said while his team worked hard, the Jets’ first-half performance was simply too good.
“I’m probably more disappointed in our first half,” Dowie said.
“We’ve got a few injuries but... they really outplayed us in the first half pretty comprehensively.
“It’s disappointing to lose but we got what we deserved.”
Next week the Jets will head to Box Hill Oval on Saturday to take on Eastern Ranges while Gippsland return to Morwell Football Oval for their clash with Northern Knights.