TAC Cup: Gutsy effort pleases coach

A thrilling fourth-quarter comeback has helped Greater Western Victoria Rebels secure a hard-fought win over Western Jets in TAC Cup competition at Eureka Stadium on Sunday. 

The team helps debutant Jack Antonio celebrate one of his two goals. Picture: Dylan Burns

The team helps debutant Jack Antonio celebrate one of his two goals. Picture: Dylan Burns

Just 10-points down at the final break, the Rebels kicked three goals in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter and held Western Jets goalless for 24 minutes to ensure the eight-point victory. 

Coach Gerard FitzGerald said the momentum swing in the final term was a marked improvement compared to last week’s match.

“We thought we lost the game against the Oakleigh Chargers because we could not control their momentum and then regain it,” he said. 

“To see our boys respond (this match) by getting a goal straight away in the first minute of the last quarter and kicking three goals in six minutes, it just gave everybody enormous confidence.

“If we can continue to learn lessons and then put the learning straight into action it gives us a chance to consolidate as a team.” 

FitzGerald was also pleased with the stoppage work in the final term along with the high tackle count, 91 in total, which had been one of the key focuses in the lead up to the game.

“What I liked as coach is that the intention to tackle was clearly there and was clearly there for the whole game…. and the delivery of our tackles was very good,” FitzGerald said.

"Defensively we made it hard for the opposition and then when we had the ball we become more efficient, we didn't have a lot of inside fifties so we had to be efficient.” 

The response from the Rebels was all the more pleasing being a rotation down.

Thomas Berry came off the ground injured just before half-time and spent the rest of the match on crutches after suffering what FitzGerald said looked to be a rolled ankle. 

“We had other players during the course of the quarter who were sore… so we were down some rotations at times, but that’s the game and you’ve got to be able to deal with that,” FitzGerald said. 

You hope you’ve taught players to be able to play in different positions or adapt to the challenges of a new role so that on game day you’re not throwing them in the deep end.”

FitzGerald was pleased to see players stand up in the final quarter, particularly the leaders. 

“Flynn Appleby (took) a really good, gutsy high mark late in the quarter, they’re things that you think can be cornerstones to a group that can really make progress now,” he said.

Callan Wellings and Trent Reed were among the Rebels’ best with 21 disposals and nine tackles each, while Jack Antonio kicked two goals on debut. 

The team will now focus on its next match in Melbourne as it attempts to defeat a side with a higher position on the ladder. 

A win against Sandringham Dragons would give the Rebels a four win and four loss record heading into the bye. 

DETAILS

GWV REBELS 11.5 (71)

WESTERN JETS 9.9 (63)

GOALS – GWV Rebels: Wilson 2, Antonio 2, Johnston 2, Domic, Wareham, Hill, Meek, Gove. Western Jets: Butters 3, Young 2, Khamis 2, Graham 2. 

BEST – GWV Rebels: Domic, Reed, Wellings, Meek, Taurau, Henson. Western Jets: Stuhldreier, Thar, Mould, Khamis, Rice, Hitch. 

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