By Todd Whelan
Darley has managed to hold off an undermanned Bacchus Marsh outfit by 17-points in last Saturday’s local derby at Darley Park.
The Devils set up the win with an eight-goals to four opening half in front of a near capacity crowd. It extends their winning streak over their cross-town rivals to six.
Lead up forwards Casey Young (four goals) and Mark Hansen (Greg Light medalist + three goals) threatened all day for the winners while the class of Nick Graham and late inclusion Billie Myers would test the Cobras resile.
Although happy to bank the four points and go 2-0 to start the season, Darley coach Heath Scotland had some reservations concerning the nature of the win.
“It wasn’t our best performance,” he said.
“In fact, we were pretty poor in areas we usually pride ourselves in.
“We deviated from the game plan, which was really frustrating, our decision making at times really let us down.
“Regardless of the result, win, lose or draw there is a process – and we failed on that,” he said.
“We were patchy at best and kept the Marsh in the game.
“We’ll take the win, I’m more than happy to do that, but we’ve got some work to do.”
Externally the Devils look a work in progress with 12 changes to their side from their last meeting with the Cobras in the 2018 Elimination Final. The observation comes on the back of a sense of disconnect (at times) with their ball movement but Scotland wasn’t buying in to that.
“This group has trained and played enough footy together to be getting right,” he said.
“There’s no excuses.”
Darley will travel for the first time in Round three for a meeting with Melton South who are 0-2.
Whelan’s best (Darley): Nick Graham – high expectations are on the former Blue to standout. The key midfielder still had more of it than most and was instrumental especially in the first half. Casey Young – presented well forward all afternoon at his new club. Chemistry with new teammates on the up – was good overhead, kicked four goals. Billy Myers – you would have been at the wrong game or asleep not to appreciate his influence. Clean ball user, high cruising speed – makes the ground look small with his coverage – he hurt the Cobras. Andrew Azzopardi – nullified Cobras high possession winner Nick Stuhldrier. Shane Page – good second half, typically courageous. Luther Baker – impressed with his efficiency under pressure. Mark Hanson – won the Medal. Kicked three crucial goals – the first goal of first, third and final quarters.
For the Cobras, their winning chances were compromised with the late omissions of new recruit Jake DeWinter and Matthew Chisari for disciplinary reasons and Harrison King (hamstring – precautionary). The situation for the Cobras would compound even further when key defender Tom Brownbridge (knee) limped from the field in the opening minutes to never return while Jake Owen (ankle – second quarter) looked proppy for the most part but courageously played on.
“Jake would not have played the second half if we hadn’t lost Browny,” Coach Peter Davey said.
Despite the loss, Davey was complimentary with the Cobras effort.
“It was a 100% improvement on Round one,” he said.
“Our overall attitude was good – the boys responded well and showed resilience which is really encouraging going forward.”
It would be Davey’s first Marsh v Darley experience.
“The game was played in good spirits,” he said.
“I was obviously aware of the rivalry going in and wasn’t sure what to expect.
“In the end, there were no real surprises, Darley were more than hospitable.
“It was interesting to note what impact perceived pressure, given the occasion, had on the ball user for both sides.”
Whelan’s best (Bacchus Marsh): Daniel Burton – dominated in the ruck. Kicked two goals and set up another in less than three minutes (third term) to get the Cobras back into the game – Finished with 50+ hit outs and three goals – had a day out. Jacob Chisari – won the Wheelahan Medal. Was excellent out of stoppage, his connection with Burton stood out. Tom Wardell – really gave the Cobras some purpose out of defence and read the game well. Billy Griffiths – livewire forward, looked dangerous all day, kicked two goals. Riley Stuhldrier – best of the rest – his field kicking is possibly the best of all the Cobras.
Bacchus Marsh will hope to have a few back for the club’s Saturday night meeting with Melton at Maddingley Park. Club officials will be hoping the Cobras faithful turn up in their droves for this inaugural event under the new lights and upgraded facilities.
Darley 5.3-33, 8.7-55, 10.8-68, 12.15-87
Bacchus Marsh 3.3-21, 4.4-28, 8.6-54, 10.10-70
Darley (Goals): C. Young 4, M. Hansen 3, J. Cadman 2, B. Myers, N. Graham 1.
Bacchus Marsh (Goals): D. Burton 3, B. Griffiths 2, H. Coulton, T.Shea 1, J. Parente, J. Owen