The Peter Jackson VFL was defeated by 63 points at the hands of the Carlton Draught WAFL at North Port Oval on Saturday, continuing a run of losses in state games that dates back to 2013.
The WAFL broke the match open after quarter time with toughness and intensity in the contests, the 20.14 (134) to 10.11 (71) result ending the state’s 23-game, 113-year history of losses to Victoria’s premier state teams away from WA.
The VFL now hasn’t triumphed in a state game since defeating the Tasmanian State League in 2012, with a four-game streak of losses commencing the next year against the WAFL in Northam, WA.
VFL state captain and Richmond skipper Sam Darley won the toss and chose to kick first with a favourable breeze, but after an even opening quarter the Sandgropers piled on the pressure and booted six goals to two in the second term to establish a break. The pain only continued for the VFL after half time, conceding another 11 majors to five.
Port Melbourne midfielder Tom O’Sullivan claimed the Frank Johnson Medal for the VFL’s best player in the loss, recording 28 disposals, six clearances, six tackles and a goal.
Borough key forward Jordan Lisle and Box Hill Hawks goalsneak Sam Switkowski were the leading Victorian goalkickers with two each, while Werribee on-baller Matt Hanson stood up in the contests with 23 disposals, seven clearances, seven inside-50s and a major of his own.
Defenders Cam O’Shea (Northern Blues – 25 disposals), Darley (22 disposals and seven marks) and Josh Newman (Williamstown – 18 disposals and five rebound-50s) performed under significant pressure all match, while Port Melbourne ball-winner Eli Templeton started with 10 disposals in the opening stanza but faded to finish the game with 20.
The teams traded goals in the first quarter after Hanson opened the VFL’s scoring through a long set-shot goal five minutes in. The WAFL’s suffocating early pressure prevented the VFL’s outside runners from finding space and regularly forced them into error, but Lisle took his chances when they presented to boot two goals and help the VFL head to quarter time with a two-point advantage.
Using the breeze more effectively than the Victorians had, the WAFL’s direct ball movement shredded the VFL’s defence in the second term. The Sandgropers piled on five goals in the first 16 minutes – three to the WAFL’s best player Ben Saunders (who kicked six for the match) – to open up a 29-point lead, before the VFL responded through majors to Switkowski and Seagulls midfielder Michael Gibbons – last year’s Frank Johnson Medallist in the VFL’s loss to the SANFL.
Continued poor delivery inside forward 50 plagued the VFL though, and a late goal to former Essendon AFL forward Leroy Jetta made the Victorians pay by sending the WAFL into half time 22 points up.
The Sandgropers then put the VFL away with another burst of toughness and intensity to start the second half. They controlled the stoppages and their tackling caused the Victorians to turn the ball over inside 50, with four unanswered goals establishing a 50-point break for the WAFL by time-on of the third quarter.
Casey Demons senior coach Justin Plapp won’t have enjoyed his first experience as VFL state coach, but WAFL mentor Michael Broadbridge and captain Kyal Horsley will take their troops back across the Nullarbor having claimed a piece of history for their competition.
VFL 3.4 5.7 8.7 10.11 (71)
WAFL 3.2 9.5 15.10 20.14 (134)
VFL: Jordan Lisle (Port Melbourne) 2, Sam Switkowski (Box Hill Hawks) 2, Matt Hanson (Werribee), Michael Gibbons (Williamstown), Tom O’Sullivan (Port Melbourne), James Ferry (Essendon), Eli Templeton (Port Melbourne)
WAFL: Ben Saunders 6, Jack Bradshaw 3, Hayden Schloithe 3, Leroy Jetta 2, Clancy Wheeler 2, Aaron Black, Jye Bolton, Ryan Cook, Tony Notte
VFL: Tom O’Sullivan, Sam Switkowski, Matt Hanson, Bayley Fritsch (Casey Demons), James Ferry (Essendon), Tom Goodwin (Coburg)
WAFL: Ben Saunders, Shane Nelson, Clancy Wheeler, Kyal Horsley, Haiden Schloithe, Ryan Cook, Jack Bradshaw