“My name Jeff” – Metro forward hits seventh heaven

SEVEN goals to Oakleigh Chargers tall Matthew Jefferson has helped Vic Metro to a comfortable 27-point win over Western Australia at Ikon Park today. Metro kicked four goals to one in the opening term, then weathered a comeback from the Sandgropers in the second term to pile on six goals to one in the third quarter. Five of those went to Jefferson, as Metro built enough of a lead to ensure Western Australia had little chance of the comeback. Despite cutting the deficit back to 21 points at one stage, the Sandgropers fell short and Metro recorded a 16.5 (101) to 10.14 (74) win.

It was a scrappy start to the game as both sides felt each other out and the ball pinged from end-to-end. The Metro defence was holding up with good pressure, thanks to the likes of Josh Weddle and Lewis Hayes. Through the middle, Will Ashcroft was getting his hands on the ball, and Sandringham Dragons teammate Harry Sheezel was marking everything. It was no surprise that it was Sheezel who would get Metro off to the perfect start with a long-range beauty.

The West Australian midfield was wary of Ashcroft’s ability around stoppages and gave away a high free kick allowing the Dragons to slot the major and make it two straight goals. Wanting to make a stand, Darcy Jones won a brilliant clean clearance, bursting away and having a fly on goal but it just bounced to the right of the goals for the Sandgropers’ first score. But the Dragons duo was continually involved as a perfect pass from Sheezel to lower the eyes and hit up the leading Matthew Jefferson who made it three and the lead was out to 17 points.

Western Australia was doing well out of the stoppage, with Conrad Williams finding his own space and putting it inside 50 to Koltyn Tholstrup who had a flying shot on goal but also missed to the right for a second West Australian behind. The visitors may well have had a couple on the board if it was not for the work of Hayes who was doing all the defensive things right, including a big spoil across the pack to knock it over the line. Eventually the weight of inside 50s and worked for the Sandgropers with Reuben Ginbey standing up in the tackle and getting it to Griffith Julian who slammed home the West Australian’s first major.

Both sides had their chances in the second half of the term, with Kai Windsor just touched on the line, and then both Koltyn Tholstrup and Tyrell Dewar missing for the visitors. The class of Elijah Hewett came to the fore, but the ability for Metro to take their chances was the key, as Jefferson pulled down a massive contested mark late in the term. The Oakleigh Chargers tall shanked the kick rushing to get off, but when a West Australian defender approached from behind, Jefferson received the 50m penalty and slotted his second from a much easier set shot to hand Vic Metro a 15-point lead at quarter time.

Will Ashcroft bounds away with the ball | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central

Western Australia owned the second term and realistically should have taken a big lead into half-time. They slammed home four goals to one – including the first three majors as Harry Cole took control. The tall forward slotted 2.3 from the quarter as he was the dominant forward in the term, looking unstoppable in the air. He even took a huge hanger over Hayes to announce himself. The Sandrgropers really got on top in the term, but the misses – from Cole and Hewett – stopped them from going further ahead.

One could hardly fault the talented Hewett though, who had nine inside 50s to half-time and was creative in the forward half. Against the flow, Olli Hotton kicked an important goal, but that was soon countered by a nice Hewett response and the visitors headed into half-time with a nine-point lead. Hewett was dominant with 17 disposals, five marks and six tackles to the break. Ashcroft had 14 disposals to the main brea, while the likes of Nathan Philactides was also racking up teh ball. Jed Hagan and Sam Gilbey were both among the best for the leaders, whilst the defensive pressure of both Alwyn Davey and Riley Hardeman for their respective sides were good.

Determined to make the most of the breeze, Sandringham Dragons forward Charlie Clarke dribbled towards goal but it just bounced upright and hit the post. He would later kick a goal in the term as part of a six-goal straight effort from the home team. The other five went to rampaging Jefferson show who kicked a mind-boggling five goals in the quarter. He slammed home four in the first 11 and a half minutes and capped off another one to blow the lead out to seven goals.

Luckily for the visitors, Jack Cleaver gave his side the slimmest of chances late, and the Sandgropers headed into the final term facing a 35-point deficit. One benefit for them was the fact they had the scoring end, with 16 of the 19 goals kicked down that end. It was looking good early with Chase Bourne nailing a set shot, followed by a ripping Hewett set shot from the tightest of angles on the boundary line. The margin was back to 22 points with 16 minutes left in the match.

Remarkably, Corey Tregenza-Cashell had a chance off a dubious paid mark coming off teammate Bevan’s hands, but the forward missed the 20m set shot, letting Metro off the hook. Running it down the other end, the home side made the Sandgropers pay, with Windsor paid a free kick and the Eastern Ranges talent slotting it to put it back out to a 27-point lead heading into the last 14 minutes. One more goal would most certainly ice the game, and when Western Jets’ Jaelen Pavlidis found Clarke alone inside 50, it looked to be the moment, but his next set shot flew to the far right.

Just as it looked to be going the other way, Western Australia took full toll up in an end-to-end play for Jones to produce a perfect set shot from 40m out to keep the game alive. The Sandgropers kept attacking and having chances, as the Metro defence looked to hold up strong. Then, Essendon father-son Davey was given an inch and he took a mile, putting it on the outside of his boot and slammed home a goal to ice the game. Davey would kick a second with five minutes on the clock and put the margin back out to 34 points again. Koltyn Tholstrup kicked a late consolation goal after a good mark in the goalsquare.

VIC METRO 4.1 | 5.1 | 13.4 | 16.5 (101)
WESTERN AUSTRALIA 1.4 | 5.10 | 6.11 | 10.14 (74)


VM: M. Jefferson 7, H. Sheezel 2, A. Davey 2, W. Ashcroft, O. Hotton, C. Clarke, C. McKenzie, K. Windsor
WA: H. Cole 2, D. Jones 2, E. Hewett 2, G. Julian, J. Cleaver, C. Bourne, K. Tholstrup


VM: M. Jefferson, C. Mackenzie, W. Ashcroft, A. Davey, L. Hayes, J. Weddle
WA: E. Hewett, D. Jones, R. Ginbey, J. Cleaver, H. Cole, R. Hardeman

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