SKIPTON opened its account for season 2012 with a workman-like 50-point victory away to Illabarook.
In front of a big crowd, the Emus could have kicked a cricket score if not for chronic inaccuracy, only partially remedied with four-straight goals to finish off the determined Bulldogs.
“We’ll be doing a lot of goalkicking practice this week,” said a wry but victorious coach Matt Rea.
Full forward Tim McKay may be the only Emu spared the extra practice, however, after his five-goal haul made him the most potent forward on the day.
McKay’s body work and one-grab marking were a feature of a game that failed to reach any great heights.
Rea and best-on-ground Stefan Pye added a touch of class, chipping in for two goals each, while Peter Gunning controlled the ruck contests and gave first use to Daniel George and Scott Fletcher.
Skill errors from both teams may have reduced the game as a spectacle, but served to highlight the tackles, smothers and shepherds that bring a smile to a coach’s face.
“I can’t fault the team’s endeavour, we battled hard but need to work on our disposal,” added Rea.
A 31-point lead at quarter time was quickly whittled down to just 17 points by a Shannon Berriman-inspired Illabarook. Berriman was a driving force for the Dogs all day and had to be helped from the ground after a heavy knock to the head late in the game. It was the result of diving head-long into harm’s way for the umpteenth time during the game.
Matthew Hayes, Sean Webster and Nathan Dyer all worked hard to get the hosts back into the game in a lively second term.
The Bulldogs threat, however, was shortlived. A hard-fought goal to Emu Matt Collins was quickly followed by a ripper from the boundary line from Brett Conroy, which reclaimed the ascendancy for the winners just before the half.
Skipton 14.21 (105)
Illabarook 8.7. (55)