A stunning nine-goal first quarter from Port Melbourne has helped them claim the scalp of the Sandringham Zebras in Round 16 at Trevor Barker Beach Oval on Sunday.
Despite only kicking two goals after the first break, the margin was too substantial for the Zebras to ever seriously threaten, and meant that the Borough were able to register their fifth win on the trot and subsequently remain in touch with the top 4.
Arguably, what proved to be the most decisive decision of the day was for skipper Toby Pinwill was to make the correct call at the coin toss, which resulted in his troops kicking with the aid of what many were saying was at least a 5-6 goal wind advantage.
Despite that, the Borough were still able to display a stunningly dynamic brand of football which seemed to catch the Zebras off guard initially.
The goals came thick and fast from a variety of different sources, including two to Josh Tynan, who seemed to relish his new role as a high half-forward.
By the time the onslaught had finished, Port had opened up a 46-point quarter-time break, which might have been even more if not for a Sandringham goal that sailed through after the siren.
Although pleased with the effort, Gary Ayres and his fellow coaching staff were wary of getting too far ahead of themselves, with the exact advantage that the wind held unlikely to be fully determined until Sandringham had kicked with it in the second.
As it turned out, the Borough were actually able to generate plenty of scoring opportunities – including a crucial goal to Dan Toman – and enjoyed a lot of time in possession which helped it maintain a 34-point buffer entering for the main break.
Kicking with the wind again in the third should’ve provided an adequate opportunity to officially put the result beyond doubt, however the travelling Borough faithful were left frustrated and tense in equal measure after the quarter was highlighted by both wastefulness in front of goal and a lift in Sandringham’s pressure on Port Melbourne’s prime movers.
Still – despite their renowned capabilities of consistently overrunning opponents in last quarters – it would’ve taken a big effort for the Zebras to overhaul a 45-point deficit; and so it proved.
A sterling defensive effort from the likes of Brody Mihocek and Damian Mascitti in the first ten minutes of the final term took valuable time off the clock, and, although managing to peg back four goals, the Zebras didn’t score quickly enough to ever raise Borough heart rates too seriously.
By the time the siren came, it was an invaluable 22-point win taken away against one of the VFL competition’s high fliers.
Tom O’Sullivan continued his recent purple patch of form, collecting 36 possessions to go with a goal, whilst Pinwill led from the front in typically inspirational fashion with 37 possessions through the middle of the ground.
Mascitti (pictured) finished with 34 disposals (and a goal), Matt Arnot 28 and key defender Mihocek with 25, which incorporated several intercept marks when Sandy pressed with the wind in both the second and fourth stanzas.
Young ruckman Lachie Waddell also impressed in his return to the Senior side, proving to be more than competitive against his bigger and more experienced opponents, as well as allowing Khan Haretuku the freedom to patrol at either end of the ground.
Pleasingly, the Borough goals were spread amongst ten different players, with Josh Tynan the only multiple scorer with two.
The win made the afternoon particularly memorable, as the club commemorated the 100th Senior Port Melbourne game of fan favourite Hugh Sandilands; and the 100th VFL game of the ever-reliable Luke Tynan.
The only sour note to come out of the victory was an ankle injury to Luke Tynan, who will be required to undergo scans before being able to diagnose its severity.
Earlier, the Development League put in a largely underwhelming performance, fading out in the last term against a hardened and hungrier Sandringham outfit.
Fans would have been happy with the return to the field of Senior regular Josh Scipione, as he bounced off a short injury setback with four goals; whilst Nick Dixon, Tom Gordon and Guy Dickson were among others to impress in the 31-point defeat.
Both sides will now need to freshen up and refocus quickly off the back of a short six-day break, particularly given that they will be coming up against might of reigning Premiers Williamstown.
Action will commence at North Port Oval on Saturday with the Development League game at 11:00am, followed by the mouth-watering Seniors match up at 2:00pm.
Sandringham 2.0-12 5.2-32 5.3-33 9.6-60
Port Melbourne 9.4-58 10.6-66 11.12-78 11.16-82
Goal Kickers: J. Tynan 2, D. Beddison, L. Cook, B. Pearson, M. Rivett, D. Mascitti, T. O’Sullivan, D. Toman, M. Arnot, S. Lange.
Best Players: T. O’Sullivan, T. Pinwill, D. Mascitti, M. Arnot, B. Mihocek, L. Waddell.
Sandringham 0.2-2 5.8-38 8.10-58 12.20-92
Port Melbourne 3.7-25 5.7-37 8.10-58 8.13-61
Goal Kickers: J. Scipione 4, G. Dickson 2, D. Iaccarino, K. Dove.
Best Players: N. Dixon, T. Gordon, J. McKenzie, H. Hooper, J. Scipione, G. Dickson.