IF you didn’t know better, you would think Jack Hollmer was Port Fairy’s favourite son judging by the number of people who wanted to shake his hand after the Seagulls defeated South Warrnambool by 20 points on Saturday.
Hollmer whipped the Port Fairy faithful into a buzz of excitement every time he went near the ball in his first game with the Seagulls. Geelong’s VFL team vice-captain was expected to be an important figure in his Hampden league debut and he delivered.
In a match-winning performance, he kicked 5.6 and one out of bounds on the full and had a hand in at least three other goals as the Seagulls claimed a 13.14 (92) to 10.12 (72) victory — their second of the season, which has them just one game behind third on the ladder.
Hollmer set up the win in the first quarter when he kicked three goals and took six marks inside the forward 50 as Port Fairy raced to a 23-point lead at the first break.
The big question among Port supporters is how many games will the key forward play in the HFNL this season?
“We have three byes in the VFL for the season and I will try and come down for all of them,” the 28-year-old said.
If the Cats have a good run with injuries, Hollmer expects he might be back more.
“It’s good coming back to country footy,” he said.
“It was good to get a win on the board. They haven’t had many around here.”
Port Fairy coach Sam Rudolph said he had spoken to Hollmer last Monday and on Friday about his job.
“I expected him to lead up hard and there had to be movement with the other two key forwards (Robbie Hare and Sam McCartney),” he said.
“I didn’t care if he didn’t kick a goal. I just wanted the movement because if we had that, I knew things would work out.”
Young Jack Lee had the job on Hollmer, who started at centre half-forward. But at quarter-time the Roosters swung Hollmer’s Geelong teammate Matt Sully on to him. Sully had started the game in the middle and moved up forward in the opening term.
The problem was, while the Seagulls were able to find Hollmer six times from 12 inside 50 entries, the Roosters wasted most of their 10 forays forward as they managed just two marks in the arc compared with nine.
South Warrnambool assistant coach Jeremy Mitchem conceded the Roosters had “rolled the dice” when they started Sully in the middle.
“Obviously when Sul (Sully) went back he did the job on him,” Mitchem said.
“We went out to attack. We thought he (Sully) could be more damaging in the midfield and up forward. Obviously it didn’t work. It may have been the difference in the game.”
Hollmer’s match-high five goals was complemented by Hare’s three and McCartney’s two.
With Adam Farley tagging South onballer Nick Thompson closely, the Seagulls got first use of the ball through Adam McCosh in the ruck, despite the centre clearances being 13 apiece for the match.
Rudolph’s ability to zone off and take eight marks in defence was pivotal as he was able to link with hard-running defenders Colin Harwood and Sam Anson, wingman Jake Hetherington, midfielders Dylan Gunning and Isaac Martin.
Port Fairy led by 37 points early in the third term but the young Roosters outscored Port Fairy 5.6 to 3.5 in their best period of the game in the final term. Sully and Russells Creek recruit Jayden Askew provided drive out of defence, and young forward Michael Pritchard was impressive with two goals, while Robbie Gregg was lively with three final-term goals that could easily have been five.