Few goals in winter slogfest as Warrnambool prevails

MEMORIES of the 1991 Hampden league grand final where only three goals were kicked surfaced on Saturday when Warrnambool and Camperdown could only manage three goals between them in the first three quarters.

Slip slidin’ away: Warrnambool’s Kurt Lenehan (left) and Camperdown’s Luke Clarke battle the waterlogged Reid Oval, as well as each other, in a tough day for football on Saturday.

Slip slidin’ away: Warrnambool’s Kurt Lenehan (left) and Camperdown’s Luke Clarke battle the waterlogged Reid Oval, as well as each other, in a tough day for football on Saturday.

The infamous 2.6 to 1.6 grand final scoreline looked like it might have been challenged after a goalless third term at a muddied and waterlogged Reid Oval.

The scoreboard was astonishing at the last break with Warrnambool leading 1.13 (19) to 2.5 (17).

But in driving rain and bitterly cold temperatures, the scoring floodgates opened in the final term as Warrnambool kicked 3.5 to 1.0 to prevail by 19 points.

“I’ve never been involved with a side that had one goal at three-quarter-time and been in front,” Warrnambool coach Scott Carter mused after his side’s 4.18 (42) to 3.5 (23) triumph.

It was a tough day for players, coaches, spectators and umpires as wind and rain lashed across the ground. You could make a case for it being the first Saturday game played under lights at Reid Oval for premiership points because the lights were turned on from the first bounce.

Only a fleeting burst of sunshine during the half-time break and rainbow over Albert Park gave any hope there would be a pot of gold.

It looked as if Camperdown might be headed for the pot of gold twice. It kicked the only two goals of the first quarter and led by eight points at the first break. Then, after trailing by two points at three-quarter-time, Jacob Mahony marked and goaled against the wind two-and-a-half minutes into the final term to help the Magpies open a four-point advantage. It was the first goal of the match since the 19-minute mark of the second quarter and in the context of the slogging contest where centimetres gained was crucial, the eighth-placed Magpies sensed an upset against the top side.

You couldn’t blame anyone for leaving early such was the temperature but if they did, they would have missed the most productive period of the match on the scoreboard.

Warrnambool had two desperate shots for goal with the heavy ball touched on the line as it held the ball inside its forward 50-metre arc until captain Jason Rowan struck. He held his ground in a marking contest and was the quickest to recover as the ball carried over his head, soccering a goal from 12 metres out to put the Blues in front at the 13-minute mark.

Six minutes later he thought he had taken a mark about 20 metres out but it had been touched. He flung the ball on to his boot under immense pressure and the resulting checkside kick cleared the outstretched hands of a Camperdown defender on the goal line by a fingernail. Despite protests from the Magpies they had touched the ball as it left his boot, a goal was paid. With the margin out to 10 points, Blues midfielder Kurt Lenehan sealed the result with a classy snap at the 30-minute mark.

In one sense the scoreboard didn’t reflect the even nature of the contest such was the commitment of both teams. But in terms of scoring shots, the Blues probably felt they should have won by more.

Veteran midfielder Josh Walters was a standout for the Blues on a day where it was hard for individuals to shine. 

Lenehan and midfielder Brendan Moore were impressive with their clearance work especially after quarter-time. Camperdown key defender Jack Williams was equally impressive in the back half opposed to Travis Graham. 

Luke Mahony was a good contributor for the Magpies while inexperienced wingman Cam Spence was good.

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