GARY Robinson turned the clock back more than a decade with a nine-goal haul in Port Fairy’s triumph over Cobden but it was the performance of his younger teammates that thrilled him the most.
The man affectionately known as “Big Show” kicked 9.2, including four goals in a last-quarter performance that had the vocal crowd roaring, as Port Fairy surged to a 64-point win at Gardens Oval.
The 18.11 (119) to 8.7 (55) victory, the Seagulls’ biggest since 2005, lifted them into the five for the first time this season. In contrast, it was Cobden’s sixth consecutive loss this season — its worst run since 2003 when it went winless in the last eight games to miss finals.
Robinson, 37, was the matchwinner.
After leading by 27 points at half-time, Port Fairy’s lead was cut to six points 18 minutes into the third term as the Bombers won control in the midfield, setting up four goals through quick delivery, including three to Chris Paatsch.
But Robinson kicked two goals in two minutes at the end of the term to give the Seagulls an 18-point buffer at three-quarter-time.
Those two goals sparked the Seagulls as they kicked 8.4 to 1.0 in the final term as they booted 10 of the match’s last 11 goals. Robinson kicked six of those 11.
It was the first time Robinson had kicked such a bag of goals in the Hampden league in more than a decade, having left the club and game after 2004 before returning with Panmure in 2012. It also ended a period of inaccuracy in front of goal with Robinson describing his kicking so far this season as “terrible”.
“It’s good to come home and contribute and give a bit back to the club and the kids,” he said.
“My role is about creating some contests and making these kids walk a bit taller.
“In a club that is rebuilding there are going to be really high high-points and low points, it’s about reducing the peaks and troughs.
“All of these kids don’t know how to prepare to win because they just haven’t experienced it. They are young and with the older guys around them it’s up to us to teach them. It’s about helping them.”
Robinson said the work from his teammates up the field was the key to the result — not his performance.
The Seagulls’ defence was on top for most of the day with Josh Gunning providing plenty of run and taking crucial marks but through the midfield Jaise Coleman, Ryan Dorling, Isaac Martin, Sam Martin and Aaron Shields were impressive.
Lachie Young with two goals produced arguably his best game for the club while Sam McCartney (3.1) and Jaydon Stiles (2.1) were key marking targets.
The Seagulls’ even contributions allowed coach Sam Rudolph to start in the middle at centre bounces and then float across half-forward where he kicked 1.1 and provided several scoring assists.
Rudolph said it was the first time the Seagulls had run away with a win, heightening expectations for the second half of the season. He said his players had to use Saturday’s performance as a benchmark to maintain their intensity and aim high.
“It should be something we should be trying to achieve,” Rudolph said.
“I think the group is good enough to play finals.”
The Bombers’ last-quarter fade-out frustrated coach Stephen Hammond as they suffered their second 10-goal loss in three games.
But there were promising signs in the third quarter that the hard running out of defence and quick ball movement through the middle was returning, especially when prime movers Sam Harkin, Brody Mahoney, Sam Uwland, Tim Horan and Paul Hinkley were involved.