Four points – Frankston Dolphins

The Williamstown Seagulls won their third straight game to return to the top of the Victorian Football League ladder. A 107-point victory over the winless Frankston Dolphins served as a great opportunity for the side to flex their muscle.

1. Dominance amid pressure – It’s tough to imagine a team that racks up 107-point win being dominated but that’s exactly what happened on Saturday. Frankston dominated the second half of the second quarter, and time on IMG_1732in both the third and fourth quarters. Despite their dominance the Dolphins were only able to put five goals on the Seagulls in that period.

What the Seagulls did while under pressure was absorb the Frankston pressure by not allowing them to have a free man. Not only did this limit the Frankston scoring but it also enabled the Seagulls to reduce the amount of time the Dolphins dominated through creating turnovers.

2. Goals, Goals, Goals – 21 goals and seven multiple goalkickers. Conway and Marcon (4), Casley, Anistasio, Masters, Gallucci and Monk (2) showed why the rest of the VFL should be wary of facing the high-flying Seagulls.

Gibbons, Dunell, Meese and Jolley all went goalless. When factoring in the ability they can have in front of goal, one thing is for sure – The Seagulls prolific scoring is going to continue for the remainder of 2015.

3. Exploiting the opposition – With no disrespect to the opponent, the gap between the two sides on Saturday was likely to be the biggest you’ll see in a VFL clash this year. The gulf in ability between the two sides showed from the first bounce, allowing the Seagulls to set the tone for the afternoon in the early stages of the clash.

The Seagulls were faster, more skillful and showed greater composure when pressure was applied. At the end of the day that was the difference between the two teams.

4. Eyes on the scoreboard – As well as hoping for a percentage boosting win (which occurred), there was one eye on the scoreboard at Box Hill. The Hawks (who have a game in hand) were locked in a tight contest with North Ballarat, and a win to the Roosters would shake up the finals picture. Box Hill prevailed with a goal after the siren, but have shown in the process they are not invincible.

With the bye this weekend all eyes will be on the Coburg and Box Hill clash on Saturday afternoon – A win for Box Hill and the minor premiership could come down to the clash between the two sides on the last weekend of the season, while a loss gives the advantage to the Seagulls as they enter the home stretch.

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Two games, Two rivals, Two points

The last two weeks have been dominated by the number two for the Williamstown Football Club.

Sport is a game of inches. It always has been and it always will be. To think that the Seagulls are one straight kick from being undefeated and two games clear on the ladder must be much more frustrating for the players than it is the fans.

The stats don’t do the last two weeks justice, if they did the Seagulls would have beaten Port by 3-4 goals and lost to Werribee by roughly the same amount.IMG_1349

What the last fortnight has done is prove two big points that will shape the 2015 VFL season:

The Seagulls are going to be a chance to win until the siren sounds – Williamstown had multiple chances to win games in the closing stages of the last two weeks. Even when the side were three goals down against the Tigers with ten minutes to go they fought back. If it wasn’t for the home side returning fire, it’s probable the Seagulls would have come over the top for their 14th straight victory against their neighbours. Even when Werribee tacked on a behind to lead by two in the 34th minute the Seagulls tried to push forward. While time expired before they could land a killer blow, the Seagulls showed a tenacity which will make them a huge threat at the business end of the season.

Percentage will be vital – Call me prone to hyperbole, but if you don’t have a good percentage in the Victorian Football League in 2015, you are in for a bumpy ride. As it stands the Seagulls have the best percentage in the league. Also as it stands there is only a game between second and second last. “But Xavier, the season is only a month old”. You’re right, the season is young, but teams are beating each other, so how do you get ahead? When you win, you win big. The biggest positive to come from the two losses for the Seagulls is that they have been by a combined four points, which doesn’t do much damage to the percentage column. Five teams have three wins (with Box Hill and Port Melbourne having a game in hand), while eight teams have two (Coburg, Geelong and Footscray having a game in hand). If the trend of everyone beating everyone continues it wouldn’t surprise me to see a ladder where first and ninth are separated by no more than three games and percentage. If this were the case it would be the closest season since 2000, the same year the league expanded to an eight-team finals system, where first and ninth were separated by just fourteen points.

The Seagulls return home on Sunday to face the Coburg Lions. The Lions are coming off a five goal loss to Essendon and will be keen to re-enter the winners circle. With the Seagulls having lost just seven games at home since the start of 2012 it is shaping to be a thrilling clash.