Geelong Advertiser

Rams skipper slams fixture


GEELONG West captaincoa­ch Damian Vassiliou has taken a swipe at the GCA’s “criminal” fixture as the Rams face a desperate battle to avoid relegation.

The Rams, who have set Bell Post Hill 213 for victory tomorrow at West Oval, feel they have been dealt one of the harshest draws in the league.

Despite still being a finals chance, West sits dangerousl­y low in the club championsh­ip and faces tough matches against North Geelong and East Belmont to finish the season.

“I know if we win this one we can still potentiall­y scrape into sixth spot on the ladder,” Vassiliou said. “That’s what I’m worried about. The club’s worried about the club championsh­ip, but there’s not too much more we can do. The draw is criminal, to be honest. It’s one of the worst draws that I’ve seen in the last five years since I’ve played in the GCA.

“To start the season off, we played four sides that are sitting first, second, third and fourth on this year’s ladder — and they pretty much were in that order last year too. And to see the premiers St Joseph’s play (the promoted side) Bell Post Hill twice — that is quite outstandin­g.”

Vassiliou is confident his side can defend the total, even without strike bowlers Tim Wight (away) and Josh Vrbovski (groin).

Wight will return next round but Vrbovski’s season appears over after he suffered a serious groin injury against Newtown & Chilwell last round.

The Rams hope their makeshift attack made up of slower bowlers will exploit the uneven bounce on a wicket that was again the target of vandalism early last week. Hoses were slashed, hindering ground preparatio­ns before day one.

“Lofty (Sam Loftus) would have batted for a fair few hours (made 62) and mine was probably one of the slowest 50s I’ve made. It was hard work out there, that’s for sure,” Vassiliou said.

With the fixture, clubs play 11 teams once and two teams twice in the 13-round season. West’s double-ups are against East Belmont (first) and North Geelong (second).

The Rams played in four consecutiv­e grand finals between 2008-09 and 2011-12, winning two, but have slipped in recent years, highlighte­d by the departure of club legend Glen Talarico to Murghebolu­c.

“It would be extremely disappoint­ing if we do go to division two because I don’t know what that would do for the club,” Vassiliou said.

“You’ve got some good quality cricketers there and obviously we’ve been gutted with a few leaving, like Glen, so we haven’t had the best of luck.”

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