Oakleigh makes statement with commanding win

OAKLEIGH Chargers have made one almighty statement with a huge 120-point win over the Western Jets at Ikon Park yesterday. In a half of football the Chargers booted 14 goals to five and looked every bit a premiership threat, never taking the foot off the pedal. The second half was just as impressive piling on 11 goals to one, to storm to a 20-goal victory in what seemed like a challenge back at Dandenong Stingrays.

Just 24 hours earlier, Dandenong put the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels to the sword with a 110-point thumping, and in what was a reminder of what they were equally capable of, the Chargers showed off their versatility up forward with a mammoth 25.13 (163) to 6.7 (43) victory. Much like the Stingrays, the Chargers had no shortage of winners on the day, with nearly every player contributing to the cause. So much so, the lowest disposal winner – and only player under 10 touches – was defender Charlie Beasley, who still had seven, and two rebounds. On the other end of the scale, 10 players had 20 or more disposals, as the Chargers monopolised the ball, not only winning a whopping 187 more disposals, but taking 46 more marks and had 21 more inside 50s.

It was the Chargers’ highest score of the season, and the second highest winning margin of the year, but it did not look like being a blowout early. A pinpoint perfect pass from Trent Bianco to Matthew Rowell inside 50 saw the bottom-ager convert the set shot and get the Chargers on the board, but then back-to-back goals to the Western Jets through Daly Andrews and Jack Watkins proved the sixth placed side was up for the fight. Xavier O’Neill and Matthew Day got to the right positions and gave Oakleigh back the lead, before potential Carlton father-son prospect, Oskar Manton delivered a timely blow with a perfect set shot from long range.

Jake Gasper pounced as he so often has before, on a loose ball inside 50 and converted, while Charlie Whitehead looked equally as dangerous around goals and got his first for the afternoon. When Daniel Pantalleresco found space close to goal and got one back for the Jets, the margin was just eight points with four minutes remaining in the first term. Unfortunately for the Jets, two late goals to Riley Collier-Dawkins (an impressive 50m bomb no less) and bottom-ager Dylan Williams pushed the margin out to 20 at the first change. Remarkably despite the impressive seven-goal quarter, Oakleigh talent manager Craig Notman told TAC Cup Radio they were not happy with the clearances, forward entries and work around the ground.

By half-time it would be hard not to be impressed with the Chargers’ work as they effectively ended the game with 25 minutes of unbelievable football. Jay Robertson got the ball rolling early in the term, and Williams booted another two majors either side of a Steven Kyriazis set shot. It would be the only Jets goal for the term, as Whitehead headed into the rooms with three goals to his name like Williams, while Gasper had two by the main break, and even Bailey Wraith – who was dominating in the ruck – went forward and kicked a strong set shot goal. In the blink of an eye, the margin was 59 points, and as Western Jets coach Torin Baker told TAC Cup Radio at the final break, the coaching staff knew the result from half-time, but still wanted to get something out of the second half.

Admitting so few winners across the board, the Jets skipper, Xavier O’Halloran was terrific in fighting against the tide, marking on the 50m arc and rather than passing off, took the responsibility upon himself, launching a massive set shot from 55m out and not making the umpire do any work, putting it straight through the middle. It was a little too late for the Jets however, as Atu Bosenavulagi kicked the first of his three majors, while Matthew Day joined the multiple goal kickers list with a second. Williams looked unstoppable up forward, booting another two majors to take his total to five by the final break, while Bosenavulagi and Gasper added to their goal tallies for the day with Oakleigh pushing the margin out to 91 points by the final break. The scary thing is, Oakleigh missed a number of gettable chances that could have pushed the margin beyond three figures.

It took just 75 seconds for that to happen, as Bosenavulagi converted one of the quickest goals from the first bounce with just 22 seconds passing, before less than a minute later, Williams had his sixth. Bosenavulagi kicked his fourth in the ninth minute to put the margin at 114 points, and a score of 154. With the record score for the season at 167 and record margin of 126 points – Dandenong Stingrays against Western Jets at Shepley Oval – on the line, they pushed right until the end, with the crowd wondering just how far they could go.

The last 15 minutes was a combination of missed opportunities for the Chargers, and some great defensive efforts from the Jets, who as a proud group would not have been pleased with the result. If there was anything to take out of the result, it was restricting Oakleigh to just 1.3 in that final 15-minute period. Day had a chance to break the season highest score with a shot after the siren, but pulled his set shot, meaning the Chargers had to settle for the 120-point win, and the 25 goals in the bank.

Picking the best for both sides was a difficult task with Oakleigh genuinely having 15 or more players who could force their way into the bests, while for Western, there were only a handful who stood up in disappointing day which saw one of the premiership contenders put in an eye-opening performance. By the final siren, Williams was the best on ground with six goals from 15 touches and eight marks (two contested), while fellow bottom-agers Noah Anderson (23 disposals, five marks and six inside 50s) and Rowell (22 disposals and seven marks) just kept winning the football.

Joe Ayton-Delaney was superb in defence with 24 disposals, three inside 50s and three rebounds, while James Jordon played an underrated role through the midfield that is not represented on the stats sheet with 20 disposals, six marks and three inside 50s. Bosenavulagi’s four goals from 17 disposals and four marks was the best performance of his season, and any Collingwood fans hoping to snare him cheaply would be cursing under their breath with a terrific performance, including a dazzling run through midfield putting on the jets to burn off Buku Khamis. Collier-Dawkins stepped up as well, with 20 disposals, four marks, three clearances and three inside 50s, while Jack Ross had a team-high seven clearances from 24 disposals. Wraith’s ruckwork to beat opposing man mountain Darren Walters despite giving away massive centimetres and kilograms was superb, having 35 hitouts from 11 touches. Whitehead and Gasper’s three goals each were other highlights, but the list could go on in what was arguably the performance of the season.

For the Jets, O’Halloran never stopped trying and constantly put his body on the line for 17 disposals, two marks, six clearances, eight inside 50s and a goal in what was a clear best on for the Jets. Khamis could also hold his head high in defence with four rebounds from 15 disposals and six marks (one contested), while Watkins (21 disposals, three marks, four clearances, four inside 50s and a goal), Connor Thar (18 disposals, five marks, five clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds) and Manton (11 disposals, two marks and one goal) also kept trying. But with only four players amassing more than 12 touches and half the side not reaching double figures, it was a day to forget in a season which had plenty of highlights.

With Oakleigh to meet Gippsland Power next weekend, there is little doubt that Power coach, Leigh Brown will have plenty of work to do in the lead-up to the big clash.

OAKLEIGH 7.2 | 14.6 | 20.10 | 25.13 (163)
WESTERN 4.0 | 5.1 | 6.3 | 6.7 (43)

GOALS:

Oakleigh: Dylan Williams 6, Atu Bosenavulagi 4, Jake Gasper 3, Charlie Whitehead 3, Jay Robertson 2, Matthew Rowell, Riley Collier-Dawkins, Xavier O’Neill, Bailey Wraith.
Western: Jack Watkins, Xavier O’Halloran, Daly Andrews, Oskar Manton, Steven Kyriazis, Daniel Pantalleresco.

ADC BEST:

Oakleigh: Dylan Williams, Atu Bosenavulagi, James Jordon, Riley Collier-Dawkins, Joe Ayton-Delaney, Noah Anderson.
Western: Xavier O’Halloran, Buku Khamis, Jack Watkins, Connor Thar, Oskar Manton, Jack Papachatzakis.

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