Premiership fancy Port Fairy beats Cobden in a round one thriller

GOOD BATTLE: Cobden defender Paul Hickey and Port Fairy forward Jackson Hollmer were locked in an interesting battle. Picture: Christine Ansorge
GOOD BATTLE: Cobden defender Paul Hickey and Port Fairy forward Jackson Hollmer were locked in an interesting battle. Picture: Christine Ansorge

PORT Fairy expects to regain two key players and improve its fitness in coming weeks after edging home against Hampden league premiership rival Cobden on Saturday.

Seagulls duo Matt Sully (knee) and Kaine Mercovich (hand) missed the Seagulls’ come-from-behind 10.8 (68) to 9.12 (66) win at Gardens Oval on Saturday.

New Port Fairy coach Dan Nicholson said he was pleased with the Seagulls’ ability to overcome a three-goal third-term deficit, particularly due to a lack of pre-season hit-outs.

“We weren’t ready for it. We only had one serious scratch match leading into this and then an intraclub so we were probably one game short,” he said.

“We’ll be much better for the hitout. We had six debutants or returning players so it’s going to take a couple of games to get that cohesion.

“We have a couple of keys to come back in (Matt) Sully and (Kaine) Mercovich who are leaders of the club.

“Kaine cut his hand at work three days ago – you wouldn’t read about it. He’s flying at the moment and has probably taken the number one mid spot at the moment. 

“It will be great to have him back with his contested side and Matt’s a pretty experienced head down back.”

Cobden got the break on Port Fairy early in a bruising and at times heated contest.

The Bombers held sway for most on the game but couldn’t get a decisive edge on the scoreboard.

Sam McCartney proved a handful in the final term, kicking the point to put the Seagulls in front. 

“It was pretty tight all day really. The stats showed we won the clearances but it didn’t feel like it, that’s for sure,” Nicholson said.

“Our clearances started to get a lot cleaner in the last quarter. We were winning the clearances around the ground pretty comfortably throughout it but they were very scrappy, they might have been a handball.

“We started to get it on the boot in the last quarter and get it deep (into attack) and young (Lochie) Gunning and Sam McCartney did their thing.”

Cobden coach Levi Dare, who was involved in a heavy bump with Nicholson in the third term, said “it was a pretty even game – two points, you can’t really pinpoint one thing”.

“We had more scoring shots – that’s probably why we’re so disappointed because we probably should’ve won,” he said.

“They played good patches and so did we but it was probably that 15 minutes where we got a three-goal lead in the third quarter and they pegged it back.

“That was the time of the game we should have put it down and we let them back in.

“There’s plenty of things to work on but it’s not a bad showing first up.”