Classic Contests: Jets pip Stingrays in 2014 thriller

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 9 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Dandenong Stingrays and Western Jets. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2014 when these two last had a series of thrillers, but the tightest was a three-point win to Western at Shepley Oval.

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2014 TAC Cup, Round 5
Saturday April 26, 11.30am
Shepley Oval

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 1.1 | 1.4 | 3.7 | 7.9 (51)
WESTERN JETS 2.2 | 3.4 | 4.10 | 7.12 (54)

Draftees in action:

Dandenong – Bailey Dale (Western Bulldogs), Bailey Rice (St Kilda)*, Tom Lamb (West Coast), Jack Lonie (St Kilda), Mitch White (Melbourne), Jacob Weitering (Carlton)*
Western – Jayden Laverde (Essendon), Liam Duggan (West Coast), Connor Menadue (Richmond), Corey Ellis (Richmond), Brenton Payne (St Kilda), Dillon Viojo-Rainbow (Carlton)

* – denotes bottom-aged

Two teams deemed to be relatively even heading into the Round 4 contest, the Stingrays had started the season fairly strongly with two wins and one loss, but only marginally with a positive percentage. The Jets were a spot behind the sixth placed Stingrays on the ladder, with one win from four games, but that win was so large they had a higher percentage than their opponents. It came the round before when the Jets smashed Northern Territory to the tune of 122 points, while the Stingrays had bounced back with a 29-point win over Bendigo Pioneers following a loss to Geelong Falcons the week before.

The match was low-scoring throughout and the visiting side to Shepley Oval found themselves seven points up at the first break with two goals to one heading into quarter time. The Stingrays had their fair share of the play in the first half, but could not capitalise, adding just a further three behinds, as Western booted 1.2 in the second term for a 12-point half-time lead.

Neither team could quite find their range in the premiership quarter, as they combined for 3.9, though this time it was the Jets who suffered more. The Stingrays booted 2.3 to keep them in contention as Western failed to land a knockout blow with 1.6 and a nine-point lead that could and should have been more heading into the final break.

The final term saw as many goals kicked as there had been for the first three quarters combined. Dandenong piled on four majors to get right back in the contest, but Western’s three goals was enough to hold on, in a low-scoring thriller, By the final siren, the Jets won 7.12 (54) to 7.9 (51) to leapfrog the Stingrays on the TAC Cup ladder.

Star talent, Liam Duggan had a day out with 33 disposals, five marks, six tackles and one goal, while fellow potential first round prospect Jayden Laverde had 28 disposals, five marks – one contested – and two goals. Richmond’s first round pick that year in Corey Ellis was named among the best for the visitors amassing 26 disposals, two marks, three tackles and 1.3 for the match, while Jackson Volpato (25 disposals, one marks, seven tackles and a goal) was also in the best for the winners.

Other draftees who played for the Jets were Connor Menadue (15 disposals, one mark and three tackles), Brenton Payne (10 disposals, two marks and two tackles) and Dillon Viojo-Rainbow (10 disposals, one mark).

For the Stingrays, future Demon Mitch White was named best-on thanks to 19 disposals, four marks and three tackles, not too far ahead of future Dog Bailey Dale (12 disposals, two marks and six tackles). Jake Lovett (21 disposals, three marks and five tackles) and Blake Mullane (22 disposals, one mark, six tackles and a goal) were others named in the Stingrays best.

Other draftees who took the field for the Stingrays included Tom Lamb (17 disposals, two marks and two tackles), Jack Lonie (13 disposals, two tackles) and bottom agers, Bailey Rice (seven disposals, one mark and three tackles) and Jacob Weitering (13 disposals, four marks – one contested – and four tackles).

By the end of the 2014 season, Western Jets would finish percentage ahead of Dandenong Stingrays – ironically in the same spots they were after this game – in sixth and seventh respectively. It would be the Stingrays to have the last laugh though, defeating the Jets by 15 points in the elimination final, then stunning the second placed Geelong Falcons by a whopping 53 points in the semi-final. Their run came to an end with the Stingrays on the opposite side of that scoreline, going down to Calder Cannons by 53 points in the preliminary final.

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