Werribee 10.15.75 defeated by Geelong 14.16.100 at Spring Creek Reserve, Torquay
Jed Anderson: 23 disposals, 5 tackles, 3 marks
Ryan Clarke: 27 disposals, 5 marks, 4 tackles, 4 goals
Majak Daw: 10 disposals, 30 hit-outs
Sam Durdin: 21 disposals, 5 marks, 2 tackles
Will Fordham: 23 disposals, 2 marks
Mitchell Hibberd: 15 disposals, 3 marks
Nick Larkey: 10 disposals, 11 hit-outs, 1 goal
Ben McKay: 3 disposals, 1 mark
Declan Mountford: 24 disposals, 10 tackles, 4 marks
Daniel Nielson: 15 disposals, 6 tackles
Matthew Taylor: 14 disposals, 4 marks, 4 tackles
Ed Vickers-Willis: 31 disposals, 5 marks, 2 tackles
Corey Wagner: 20 disposals, 2 tackles, 2 marks
Josh Williams: 12 disposals, 1 goal
Mason Wood: 11 disposals, 1 mark, 1 goal
Cam Zurhaar: 7 disposals, 6 tackles
Story of the game
16 North-listed players took the field as Werribee lined up for its first home game away from Chirnside Park due to the redevelopment.
The conditions looked perfect for the footy, but it was a tale of missed opportunities in the first half as both sides peppered the goals.
By half-time, the Tigers had kicked just two goals to go with their 14 behinds, while Geelong was more accurate, albeit still wayward around the big sticks for 5.9.
Early goals in the final term gave the Cats what looked like an insurmountable lead, before Kangaroo Ryan Clarke threatened to win the match off his own boot, with three goals in 14 minutes.
Werribee reduced the margin to 14 points, but it wasn’t to be, as Geelong eventually held on for a 25-point win.
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North’s number 33 couldn’t have been more impressive in defence.
Time and time again the Cats got the ball into attack, only for Vickers-Willis to get in the way and take a vital mark.
“It was a terrific game for Ed, probably his best since he’s been at the club,” Development Manager Ben Dyer said.
“He’s played some good games before, but today I thought for four quarters he impacted in the air, he took the space and ran with the footy. He brought other players into the game as well.
“He was really clean every time he took possession. I thought he was by far our best player and really saved us on a number of occasions.”
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The highlight of a great game for the Tigers’ skipper was a running goal from outside 50 in the final term.
Matt Hanson also battled hard through the midfield with his tireless run a feature.
After a long spell on the sidelines due to injury, Mason Wood was back in action on Sunday.
The 23-year-old took several strong marks and played three and a half quarters in an impressive return.
RELATED: Wood interview
Clarke’s big day
While his four goals nearly helped his team over the line, Ryan Clarke’s work around the stoppages was also impressive.
The youngster responded to his omission from the senior side with a fantastic game.
RELATED: Clarke interview
Jed Anderson is thoroughly enjoying his time through the midfield, winning plenty of the footy, but also piling pressure on the opposition with relentless tackling.
The pacey left-footer didn’t get a clear run during 2016, but fully fit, is relishing his opportunity around the ball in 2017.
First-year player Josh Williams showed what he’s capable of with a couple of moments of brilliance.
He booted a goal on the burst in the final term, before a blistering run through the middle of the ground that looked to leave the opposition standing still.
Hibberd’s premature end
Mitch Hibberd was courageous in a contest during the second term, but came off second best, stretchered from the field.
Fortunately, the 2015 draftee was able to watch the remainder of the match from the bench and was smiling in the rooms after the game.
No fencing Ed in
His outstanding performance on the field meant no one was going to bench Ed Vickers-Willis, but that didn’t stop the defender from ending up on the other side of the fence, twice.
Contact from Rhys Stanley saw Vickers-Willis fly over the sponsorship hoardings into the carpark during the second term, and not long after, he was over again.
Both Vickers-Willis and the fence emerged unscathed.
The best photos
Mason Wood and Ed Vickers-Willis pre-game
The first bounce
Majak Daw in the ruck
Ed Vickers-Willis clears defence