Travel no issue for young squad
Herculean efforts from Michael Wright Jr and Len Papertalk inspired the Mid West Football Development Program to record a 14point victory over the Great Southern Storm in last Saturday’s WAFL regional academy scratch match at Claremont Oval.
Denying the Storm space in a bid to flood numbers forward, the Mid West side held all the aces during the 13.7 (85) to 11.5 (71) victory.
It was a long day for Craig Walker’s side — who left Geraldton at 8am and did not arrive in Perth until three hours before the 4pm bouncedown.
The southerners made the best of the opening exchanges and burst to an early two-goal lead through their ability to gain possessions unopposed and correctly assess their options.
After absorbing early pressure, the Mid West were able to construct consecutive forward entries and hit the scoreboard.
Sensing their side needed a lift, several players shifted the momentum back in the Mid West’s favour. Whether it was Wright Jr’s tenacity in tackling the ball carrier, Papertalk’s searing pace through the middle, or Kingsley Dawson’s composure weaving in and out of traffic, all deeds made for a breathless six-goal to two second-quarter effort.
Despite heading into the second half with a 20-point advantage, the Storm had ample weaponry capable of turning the tide. Having struggled to break clear of tight close-quarter contests at each stoppage, Storm managed 17 unopposed possessions in the final eight minutes of the third term — all of which gained 10m or more. After imploring their charges to finish the quarter strongly, the Mid West coaching hierarchy could breathe a little easier when their side goaled at the three-minute mark of the final term.
This goal was telling, as during that opening passage of play, Storm failed to gather one unopposed disposal.
The teams cancelled each other out on the scoreboard in the closing stages, although the competitiveness of the contest remained.
Despite the victory, arguably a greater positive for the Mid West was their ability to minimise defensive turnovers as the match wore on.
After conceding 10 points in the opening half, the defensive group rallied and only made two skill errors in their defensive zone during the second half, with the other coming via a 50m penalty.
Mid West Development Football Program players and coaches.