Smith: A new era of dominance
Wimmera interleague football coach Guy Smith believes Saturday’s resounding win against Murray Football League could usher in a new era of dominance for the Big W.
Playing on the road in Shepparton, the visitors came out firing with 12 scoring shots to three in the first quarter, and had amassed a 44-point lead by the main break.
From there they cruised to the line, winning 18.19 (127) to 12.10 (82).
Smith praised the performances of all his charges.
“We went in with a really good game plan that everyone could follow and understand, and then because of the talent in the side, they could adapt to what was happening,” he said.
“It was an awesome effort; they worked together as if they’d been playing together for seasons, not just one day.”
Smaller, fleeter players did most of the Wimmera’s scoreboard damage, with Deek Roberts, Luke Fisher and Sam Jasper booting three goals apiece.
But Smith said tall marking targets such as Jae Mcgrath, Tom Mills and Billy Carberry had aided their contributions.
“We knew those guys were going to compete strongly in the air,” he said.
“Jae Mcgrath took about 20 marks. The other talls were competing really well, and some of our smaller forwards were the beneficiaries of that and finished the job off.”
Coleman Schache kicked one goal in a best-on-ground performance and was part of a devastating Wimmera midfield rotation.
“We went into the game with two midfield teams that rotated on and off the bench,” Smith said.
“Coleman Schache, Luke Fisher and Deek Roberts were probably our top three and they only played about 60 percent of the game.
“They were going on and off the bench and they would go hard for short bursts of seven minutes at a time, then they would rest.
“It goes to show it’s not necessarily how long you’re out there for, it’s the quality of the minutes you play that changes the game.”
Smith also praised the efforts of his dour backline, which conceded just five goals in the first half.
“The back six just had to do it the old fashioned way, one on one,” he said.
“They outmarked and outpressured their opponents every time and we were able to rebound it and control the footy back out.”
Smith, in his first year helming the Wimmera interleague team, said the league had plenty of exciting young talent that could take it much higher than its current ranking of 17th in the AFL Victoria Community Championships standings.
He said he was excited and motivated to keep coaching the side.
“I’ve seen a lot of good Wimmera league games in my time, but without tooting my own horn, I reckon it was probably the best I’ve ever seen,” he said.
“I want to get back on board for a few years. I think this side that played is a new generation of players.
“There were 10 debutants who got their chance and took it by the scruff of the neck.
“They proved their worth, so the next era is coming through now.
“If it can stay like that it will be awesome to see how far up the ladder we can get.”
Smith thanked the Wimmera league commission, AFL Wimmera-mallee general manager Stephen Mcqueen and his assistant coaches Shane Fisher, Tim Wade, Coleman Schache and Luke Fisher for their assistance.
The Wimmera league under-18 side was also victorious on Saturday, easily overcoming Murray after a shaky opening quarter.
The Big W trailed by 12 at the first break but restricted their opponents to 4.3 for the rest of the match while kicking 12.9 to run out 42-point winners, 14.9 (93) to 7.9 (51).
Cooper Heard was the Wimmera’s best player, while three goals to Thomas O’dwyer led an even spread of goal-kickers.
When the Wimmera league fixture resumes on Saturday, Stawell and Minyip-murtoa will meet in an important top-five clash at Stawell’s Central Park.
Southern Mallee Giants can keep themselves in the finals race with a win against struggling Nhill, Dimboola faces the unenviable task of hosting reigning premier Horsham and Horsham Saints will travel to face Warrack Eagles. Ladder leader Ararat has the bye.
TRIUMPHANT: From left, Wimmera Football League chief commissioner Trevor Albrecht, interleague captain Luke Chamberlain and interleague coach Guy Smith celebrate a win.