By Lance Jenkinson
The Western Region Football League never had a semblance of control over the scoreboard during its 42-point loss to Goulburn Valley Football League in the AFL Victoria Community Championship interleague clash on home soil at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday.
The WRFL’s best took on the Goulburn Valley region in a mouth-watering encounter, but the hosts were made to rue both their inaccuracy in front of goal and inability to hit targets inside 50 under pressure.
A lot of the WRFL’s shots were from long distances, which was reflected in the team’s poor conversion of four goals from 18 shots.
“They had a spare behind the footy during play and we just didn’t do a good enough job of rounding him,” WRFL coach Brad Julier said.
“A lot of our shots were from 40 to 50 metres out instead of 20 to 30 metres, which we would’ve liked.
“We just couldn’t get it deep enough inside 50 to get a good shot on goal.
“A lot of it was rushed, their pressure was pretty good.”
Julier was pleased with the fight shown by the WRFL players, who played catch up as they trailed at every change.
Had it not been for their inaccuracy in the final quarter, the WRFL might have had an unlikely comeback.
“We were sort of hanging around all day,” he said.
“The last quarter we challenged, but kicking seven behinds in that quarter didn’t help us.”
Josh Macdonald was named the WRFL’s best for his impact on the wing.
Macdonald was praised for his willingness to work both ways.
“He used the footy well and his work rate was sensational,” Julier said.
Daniel Nielson was the pick of the WRFL defenders for his work across half-back.
His reading of the play stood out.
“The ball came in quite a bit, but he was rock solid in the defence,” Julier said.
Brydon Hodgson put his body on the line for the cause in the midfield.
“He crashed and bashed for us,” Julier said.
“They were a pretty solid side size-wise but he used his body well and worked really hard in there for us.”
While the result was not what the WRFL desired, the success of the occasion strengthened the league’s appetite for interleague football.
Julier was impressed by the support of the top club, the players and the league officials.
“There was great buy-in from a lot of the competition’s best players,” he said.
“I think we had 17 WRFL juniors in the side – guys that have played all their junior footy with the WRFL – so there’s definitely a lot of talent there and we’re keen to keep pushing that.
“It’s a big step forward for representative football in the WRFL.”