THE sudden and dramatic arrival of winter has inspired Dennington to its best win of the season.
The Dogs got down and dirty in the mud of the Dennington Recreation Reserve to destroy Allansford by 70 points on Saturday.
It was the first time the Dogs have beaten a fellow top-five side this season.The 14.9 (93) to 3.5 (23 (23) win lifted them to fifth place, a game clear of Kolora-Noorat.
For Allansford it was only its second loss for the season and its first since round two when it lost by just a goal to Panmure.
The calendar said this was the first game of winter for 2014 and the elements did not disappoint, with a cold and windy day greeting the players and the band of hardy supporters who turned out to cheer them on.
But the biggest challenge laid in the surface of the oval which looked like it had been hijacked by the heavy rain that fell in the days and hours leading up to the game.
A heavy cover of mud invaded a large percentage of the ground making it difficult for players to handle the ball cleanly and execute their skills with any precision.
A strong wind blew to the scoreboard end of the ground and Allansford gained an early edge when it had first use of the wind with the dry ball in the first quarter.
The Cats were up and about early with goals to Dave Pullen and Nick Johnstone giving them the high ground.
But the Dennington midfield began to get on top and soon the supply to the Allansford forward line began to dry up.
The Dogs were able to stop the Cats scoring another goal for the quarter and were able to get one of their own through wingman Luke Pearson but Allansford had a five-point lead at the first change.
The second quarter started the way the first finished with clean ball use hard to come by but plenty of bodies being put on the line by players from both teams.
With both defences on top, scoring was hard but it was the Dogs who broke the deadlock with a clever soccer goal to Dustin McCorkell at the 11-minute mark.
This gave the Dogs a two-point lead, the first time they had been able to get their noses in front for the day.
It was also the start of a period of Dennington dominance that busted the game wide open.
The Dogs’ fierce attack on the ball and hard running was too much for the Cats to handle as they slammed on seven unanswered goals during the second half of the quarter.
Not only were the Dogs in full flight but they also had the Cats rattled with two goals coming from 50-metre penalties.
By half-time the game had been torn apart by the Dogs as they jogged off with a spring in their step and a 46-point lead in their keeping.
Allansford needed something special to get back in the game and they took a tiny step forward with a mark and goal to Justin Nowell two minutes into the third quarter.
But the good news for the Cats was fleeting with onballer Josh Brown sent off for an indiscretion soon after and Dennington going on to kick the last two goals of the quarter to lead by 51 points at the final break.
The job was finished by the Dogs with a three-goal to zip last quarter putting the icing on an impressive cake.
It was a day when Dennington had winners all over the ground and Allansford struggled to break even in any position.
The lightly-framed Luke Pearson was not made for such heavy conditions but his pace, long kicking and clean hands at ground level played a big part, particularly early in the game, in setting the Dogs on the way to victory.
Young ruckman Josh Lock was singled out for praise from Dennington coach Ben Parkinson for his performance.
“I thought Josh was unbelievable today. He is only 17 and he played like a man today,” Parkinson said. “We tried to recruit a ruckman at the start of the season but couldn’t get one so he has had to shoulder a big load.
“In the last two weeks he has taken a huge leap forward and he rucked for over 70 per cent of the game and I thought he was best on ground today.”