GIPPSLAND Power went down to the Western Jets by two points in what was a very high quality game of TAC Cup football between two teams who will figure prominently in September.
The boys were at their hard-nosed best in contested issues as usual but, when going forward they tended to blaze away rather than use any form of effective system to convert these thrusts to score line pressure, with the Western Jets holding on to win 11.11 (77) to 10.15 (75).
On a day when the midfield needed to be at their hard-nosed best, Liam Nash again led the way with his unique brand of effective hardness in contested issues as well as the determination and skill to win easier possessions and then use them to the team’s benefit.
Defender Bodhi Walker not only defeated opponents in any one-on-one contests but had the amazing skill to take many contested marks as well as run and set up positive attacking play. He is nearing full fitness and is showing that he will be a critical element of the side’s September forays.
As he has done for much of the season, Tom Muir gave the side vital defensive strength with his disciplined play under pressure and then had the confidence and skill to run to set up positive attacking play with long and direct kicking. His leadership has been excellent and he is ready for the pressure game coming up.
Another player who has been playing consistently good team football, Ed Morris, was again at the forefront of much of the better play with his disciplined and determined football. He won his usual swag of hard possessions, used the ball effectively and had his ten plus tackles yet again.
Aaron Heppell is never one who stands out for flashy play but he does stand tall in the hard, contested issues with his ability to win the hard nut and then get it to teammates to set up play. He also has become a tackling maestro and consequently is a critical element of the midfield unit.
Another player who goes about his job with a minimum of fuss but a maximum of effectiveness is Paul Pattison. He too does the hard things when it matters most but also has the skill and confidence to back his judgement to turn defence into attack with unerring accuracy.
The Power now has the ultimate challenge when they rake on top side, the Geelong Falcons at Box Hill next Sunday. If Power can play 100 minutes of disciplined, team oriented football that had been so good in their previous three matches, they will give the Geelong boys a real run for their money.
The Falcons will face an almost full strength Power side with Jack Leslie and Lukas Webb back and Rohan Hildebrand available after his week off. In contrast though, the Power’s unique brand of hardness in contested issues can put intense pressure on their ability to get their running game going and coach Nick Stevens will be certain to ensure that they learn from the Jets game.