Oakleigh Over Dandenong
Oakleigh have bounced back from a poor performance last week to grind out a one-goal victory against Dandenong in wet conditions at Warrawee Park as Lachlan Moorhead reports.
Down by one point at three-quarter time, the Chargers rallied and broke the deadlock with the only goal of the final quarter.
The tightly contested match played out in a steady drizzle that refused to let up for the entire game.
The Stingrays handled the wet ball better in the first quarter, kicking two goals to the Chargers one but were wasteful early with another 5 missed goal-scoring opportunities.
Majority of the first quarter was played in Dandenong’s forward half while Oakleigh were ineffectual going forward. The Stingrays backline repelled the Chargers’ forays into attack with ease in the early stages of the game.
Meanwhile, Dandenong forwards Taylor Garner and Clayton McCartney looked ominous around the goals but failed to get the return they would have liked. Nathan Foote and Tim McGenniss were also impressive in the midfield for the Stingrays, winning contests early and setting the tone in what was shaping up as a war of attrition.
The Chargers came to play in the second quarter, resulting in 3 quick goals to Patrick Jenkins within the first 5 minutes of the term that gave Oakleigh the lead.
Dylan Heath and Kristian Jaksch were busy for the Chargers, as their on-ballers began to win the clearances in the second term and kicked the ball long to Jenkins, who stunned the Stingrays with a flurry of consecutive majors.
Dandenong were able to weather the Oakleigh storm as the rain continued to fall and clean possession became hard to come by. The Stingrays lifted around the stoppages to halt the Chargers’ surge and saluted their efforts with a goal to Nick Newman at the 16-minute mark of the second quarter, their only goal of the term.
Goals were even harder to come by after the main break, with Dandenong kicking the only major of the third quarter. The Stingrays pumped the ball long into their forward pocket where Garner was able to get clean possession off a spoil and slot through his second goal and his team’s fourth for the game.
The intensity from both sides in the last quarter was telling, with stoppages at every turn and players bullocking for a hotly disputed ball along the wings. A hard but clean tackle from the Stingrays saw tempers flare early in the term but the rain, drizzling as it had all day, seemed to put out the fire as quickly as it had begun and the players went back to business.
Goals were elusive in a game significantly devoid of forward line marks and set shots, so when Dylan Vizzarri slotted through his second major for the Chargers 4 minutes into the quarter, it was worth a lot more.
With majority of the final quarter still to play, the Stingrays stayed in the game through good stoppage work and urgency through the middle of the ground. However, the Chargers defence, aided by the rain, were able to stifle the Dandenong forward-arc entries and force repeated 50/50 contests.
The war of attrition ended with only one goal recorded for the final term but 44 wet, bruised and battle weary bodies. For the Chargers, their battle scars will be indicative of a hard-fought victory.
Oakleigh Chargers 5.9.39 def Dandenong Stingrays 4.9.33