WHEN two evenly matched teams play a very similar brand of football, it is usually the team with the slight edge in height, skill or luck that walks off the ground with the coveted four points.
Such was the scenario for Ballarat when it defeated a valiant Lake Wendouree by 15 points at Harcourt’s Oval on Saturday.
Simonds Swans forward Matthew Dawson contributed to the skill edge with four crafty goals. The edge in height came from Swans’ big men Luke Brennan, Chris Howgate, and Luke Nunn who also finished with four goals.
And the luck in the form a third quarter controversial goal umpiring decision in favour of Ballarat at a time when Lake Wendouree was on the rebound.
Lake Wendouree coach Gavin Webb said his team had its opportunities, but didn’t take them.
“We showed a bit of character after once again getting off to a slow start in the first quarter, but we are still playing in patches and need to keep improving, especially in the area of goalkicking,” he said.
Ballarat took full advantage of Lake Wendouree’s goalless first quarter to romp away to a 25 point lead at the first break, courtesy of a dominant midfield led by coach, Shane Hutchinson.
There was also a successful of tactic of rotating the resting ruckmen at full forward which produced goals for Mark Nunn and Tom Anson.
Two early second term goals to Ballarat’s Braeden Deary and Mark Nunn set up the Swans for a big day out, but Lake Wendouree refused to buckle and responded with a more direct and contested style of football. It resulted in three unanswered goals and a redeemable 10 point deficit going into the long break.
The third term saw with Ballarat pounce on Lake Wendouree’s inability to kick straight despite dominating most of the forward inside-50 play.
Matthew Dawson slotted his third six pointer with help of a 50 metre penalty, followed by a Mark Nunn goal that appeared to fade to the near side of the post, giving the Swan’s a handy 35-point three quarter time buffer.
During the break, Laker’s coach, Gavin Webb reminded his players that the match was still very much up grabs and to play with conviction and honour.
A serious shoulder injury to key Laker forward, Charles Edmonston, combined with eight consecutive behinds by the Lakers, allowed the Swans to hold on.
“It was a good hard game to win because Lake Wendouree kept on coming back at us,” Hutchinson said.
“We only played two and a half quarters of footy and our second tier players, who are going to win us a lot of games this year, were down a little bit and left it up to too few.
“Next week against North City we need those blokes to really stand up and be counted.”
Ballarat 11.14 (80)
Lake Wendouree 8.17 (65)