Coach takes pride in team’s tenac­ity

Albany Advertiser - - FOOTBALL - Cameron New­bold

Great South­ern Storm fin­ished win­less and at the bot­tom of the colts di­vi­sion at the Land­mark Coun­try Foot­ball Cham­pi­onships but coach Glynn Ver­bruggen said his younger pro­file squad showed great ap­pli­ca­tion and ef­fort.

With only five top-age play­ers in their side, the Storm had the youngest squad of the five teams com­pet­ing but were un­able to win any of their four matches, repli­cat­ing their win­less car­ni­val from 2014.

De­spite reach­ing the fi­nals in the past two years, the Storm missed Sat­ur­day’s fi­nals but had their chances against North­ern Suns on Fri­day morn­ing at Bendigo Bank Sta­dium in Man­durah.

The Suns were also win­less from the open­ing day, with the win­ner of the clash likely to fin­ish fourth and reach the third and fourth play-off.

Goals to Kim­ber­ley prod­uct Jai Long and then the elu­sive Zainel Bin Busu had Storm ahead early in the piece, but the Suns hit back with the next three goals to take a half-time lead.

Jay­den Scott pulled the mar­gin back to a sin­gle point early in the sec­ond half, but the Suns kicked four of the final five goals in the con­test to fin­ish 17-point win­ners.

In their final round robin match against the Peel Cava­liers, the Storm played their best foot­ball of the cham­pi­onships, but the class of Peel pre­vailed in the end.

Nel­son Kent and Keifan Rogers booted three goals apiece in the 25point loss, while Bin Busu and mid­field bulls Scott and Codey Bax­ter also im­pressed.

On day one of the cham­pi­onships, South West kicked six goals to three in a de­ci­sive first-half to set up a 42-point vic­tory, with Kent (two goals) and Bin Busu again the stars.

Re­gional Dis­tricts, who lost the grand final to South West, kicked six unan­swered goals in the open­ing half against Storm on Thurs­day as they romped home by 42 points de­spite the best ef­forts of de­fend­ers Ted Batch­e­lor and Joe Alvin.

Ver­bruggen hailed his young squad for their ef­fort against such strong op­po­si­tion.

“Ob­vi­ously its dis­ap­point­ing to go up and not win a game but I’m not dis­ap­pointed with the ef­fort they boys put in,” he said.

“We were rel­a­tively even in terms of in­side 50 en­tries in ev­ery game bar one, and our best game was against Peel, where we moved the ball re­ally well and con­tin­ued our tack­ling pres­sure.

“A lot of this team can go again next year.

“The three All Stars were re­ally strong all week along with Scott and Bax­ter in the mid­dle, who did so much con­tested clear­ance work.”

The only ma­jor in­jury from the car­ni­val was Con­nor Spinks, who hurt his shoul­der in the final game.

Bin Busu, Kent and ruck­man Kalin Lane were se­lected in the CBH Colts All Stars.

Pic­ture: Cameron New­bold

Storm's Quintin Shan­d­ley takes a strong mark against South West.

Great South­ern Storm's Kalin Lane con­tests the ruck.

A fight breaks out on the final siren.

Storm's Nel­son Kent tries to gather pos­ses­sion.

Storm's Jaike Dale tries to spoil Re­gional Dis­tricts' Reece Ed­wards.

Storm coach Glynn Ver­bruggen.

Storm's Jay­den Scott.

Storm mid­fielder Zainel Bin Busu.

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