NINE consecutive goals to the Western Jets saw the sixth placed side run rampant over Greater Western Victoria (GWV) to end the Rebels’ season on a disappointing note. While both sides were up for the fight, the Jets restricted the Rebels to just four goals after quarter time, while piling on 13 of their own. The complete rout came from the 20-minute mark of the third term as they booted 9.6 to 0.0 to round out the game and storm into the NAB League finals series.
Efficiency going forward was the key between the sides in the first term, with the Rebels having 10 less disposals, but having five more inside 50s. Of the Rebels’ 14 inside 50s, they had six scoring shots on the board, and held a 13-point buffer at the first break. It was Mitchell Jorgensen who got the Rebels going with a lucky bounce in the goalsquare bounding over the head of an overcommitted Jets’ defender back into Jorgensen’s hands who slammed it home for the game’s first major. Up the other end, Archi Manton tried to do the same with creating something out of nothing, but could not get ball to boot and it dribbled across the line. It must have been something in the air because Mitch Martin almost topped everything with a high bouncing dribbler from the tightest of angles which went end-over-end only for it to bounce through and hit the inside of the post
It was not long before Isaac Grant lead out and accepted a neat Matty Lloyd kick inside 50 to make it two in a row, as either side of that Lloyd had a couple of chances on goal but just picked up the two behinds from general play. Finally the Jets got on the board in reward for time in possession with a long kick and quick handball to the running Aaron Clarke in the goalsquare getting them on the board. The Rebels were having none of that though, as Grant soon responded, pouncing on a loose ball and snapping for his second in the opening term and handing the Rebels a 14-point lead. The Jets controlled most of the last five minutes but could only add a rushed behind to their tally as the GWV defence stood up with plenty of high balls inside 50 spoiled away. At quarter time, Darcy Cassar was up to 10 touches, ahead of Eddie Ford and Josh Honey who were used in transition down the wings, while for the Rebels, it was Martin and Mitchell Burgess who had the seven disposals each.
The Jets fought back in the second term, booting a rather inaccurate 3.6 to the Rebels’ 2.2. Clarke and Manton’s strength in the air and at ground level was telling, while the likes of Ford and Honey were trying to create opportunities inside 50. It was the Rebels who could not convert early however, as Grant and Jorgensen missed chances either side of a Manton goal. Manton was on the end of a terrific turnover by the Jets at half-back and ran it down for the competition’s leading goalkicker to capitalise with the extra number inside 50. A nice piece of play from Ford just prior intercepted a handball and got it over to Honey but his snap missed. Riley Polkinghorne soon got the Rebels on the board with a nice end-to-end play resulting in him launching from outside 50 and responding to the Manton major.
A few more Jets misses – first from Harrison Schumann then Nash Reynolds inside 50 – let the Rebels off the hook with back-to-back defensive 50 turnovers, but a third time they would not be so lucky. The ball bounced back inside 50 to Manton who took a strong mark and put it straight through. Ford had a chance of his own in congestion but could not get on the right and it flew out on the full, with the corresponding passage down the wing resulting in a huge flying mark from Liam Herbert who clunked it from the side and then converted the set shot. Ford had another chance from the set shot following a free kick but again it strayed right, before Clarke also followed suit with a behind after a mismatch resulted in a contested grab and shot. It was not long before Western’s dominance with the ball in the forward half paid dividends as Manton snapped around his body for his third of the half and draw within three points. With less than a minute remaining, two terrific defensive efforts from the Rebels – firstly from Jayden Wright backing into Aaron Clarke to spoil and cause a spill, and then Martin laying a perfect technique tackle to win a free, ensured the Rebels remained in front at the half. Cassar and Ford were still the top Jets ball winners, while Ben Hobbs had a massive second term, combining well with Martin through the middle, while Toby Mahony and Josh Dwyer were also having a say.
The momentum the Jets built in the second term continued into the third, with Lucas Failli kicking a ripping goal from a snap after Martin missed just prior to that with a long range shot. Both teams were looking better with their ball movement, but the Jets were clogging up the wings to halt the Rebels where possible, and with the Jets back in front, Manton almost kicked a remarkable mid-air shot from 30m out on the boundary but it bounced through for just one behind. Martin booted his third behind of the day with a chance he would normally swallow up, but Nick Caris made no mistake shortly after, converting his set shot and the Rebels regained the lead by four points. When Rantall ran into an open goal and put it straight through the middle, the margin was 10 points with seven minutes remaining. But that would be the last Rebels score for the remainder of the game as Western took full control of the game. A Will Kennedy dump kick resulted in a great mark over the top from Manton who converted his fourth goal of the game, and a late snap from Billy Cootee from 50m out put the Jets in front at the final break.
The Jets’ momentum had been brewing and it bubbled over in the final term with a procession of goals as Western took full control of the game and it became a party for the sixth placed side. Failli was the trendsetter with another great snap around his body, followed by a huge goal from Honey to extend the lead into double-digits. That followed a Clarke long-bomb himself from outside 50 and when the Rebels dropped a crucial mark inside defensive 50, Daly Andrews swooped in and produced the double cobra celebration knowing his side was now home and hosed with a 29-point advantage.
The Jets were so comfortable they started with the highlight-reel plays as Manton attempted an ambitious 65-metre set shot which unsurprisingly fell short, and then a kick off the ground was just as ambitious from Harley Blake in mid-air. It was not long before Honey’s influence was taking its toll in the forward half with a perfect kick on his non-preferred to Daniel Bolkas who leaned back and converted, then Honey had another goal assist, this time to Failli for his third. Ford was equally as influential in the forward half, but could not find his radar with his third behind of the game, but it mattered little. The Rebels defensive structure had broken down as a deadly turnover inside 50 straight to Mace Cousins who kicked a goal right before the final siren to make it an even 50-point victory. There were not many highlights for the scoreless Rebels in the final term, with Rantall having the sole shot on goal, which despite being on target, was punched over the line and a free against the Rebels handed out anyway.
The final margin was not reflective of the overall game, though the Jets took control after quarter time, and really owned the midfield and gave their forwards enough chances inside 50 to really capitalise. They booted the last nine goals of the game to win in a stampede, almost doubling their score for the game in that last quarter. Honey was best on ground with 24 touches seven marks, eight inside 50s, five tackles, a goal and numerous goal assists, while Andrews worked hard in the engine room to bring up 29 touches, eight marks, five inside 50s, three tackles and a goal. Cassar won plenty of the footy in the back half with 24 touches, seven marks and four rebounds, while Ford was busy in the forward half with three behinds from 23 touches and four marks. Failli finished with the three majors in a big second half, ending the game with 19 touches, while Manton and Clarke combined for six goals and were handful in the air. For the Rebels, Hobbs was the best with 21 disposals, three marks, four rebounds, three inside 50 and three tackles, while Rantall (17 disposals, seven tackles and a goal) and Dwyer (20 disposals, three marks) tried hard, as did Martin (15 disposals, six marks, four inside 50s, four tackles and three behinds).
WESTERN JETS 1.2 | 4.8 | 7.9 | 14.15 (99)
GWV REBELS 3.3 | 5.5 | 7.7 | 7.7 (49)
Western: A. Manton 4, L. Failli 3, A. Clarke 2, B. Cootee, D. Andrews, J. Honey, M. Cousins, D. Bolkas.
GWV: I. Grant 2, M. Jorgensen, R. Polkinghorne, l. Herbert, J. Rantall, N. Caris.
Western: J. Honey, L. Failli, D. Andrews, E. Ford, D. Cassar. A. Manton
GWV: B. Hobbs, J. Rantall, J. Dwyere, M. Martin, i. Grant, M. Burgess