By RORY O’NEILL
IN Round 1, Maribyrnong Park inflicted Aberfeldie’s first and only loss in 18 months. The in-form Gorillas were keen to repay the favour.
In the first quarter, Chris Prowse rucked beautifully and took half a dozen overhead marks.
For Abers, Brock McLean was picking up possessions and setting up the play.
It was a tight affair, but a couple of turnovers proved costly for the home team. At quarter time, the Lions trailed 3.3.21 to Aberfeldie 6.2.38.
In the second term, the Gorillas showed more desperation and moved the ball quickly.
The helmeted Zach Hislop was dangerous around goal, giving off two and putting through two himself.
Marby’s only major for the term was via a contested mark and straight kick from Cameron Lee.
At the long break, Abers held a convincing 50-point lead, 12.7.79 to 4.5.29.
In the third quarter, both teams increased their tackling pressure, but the sharp handball movement led by Josh Cubillo and Mark Lynch allowed the visitors to nudge further ahead.
Maribyrnong Park captain-coach Robert Castello put himself on the ball and moved James Breust up front, with some success, as the home team recorded two majors.
At three-quarter time, Aberfeldie advanced to lead 16.12.108 to Marby’s 6.10.46.
In the huddle, Castello implored his players to take the game on and run and carry the ball as they had nothing to lose.
At the other end of the ground, Abers coach Adam Potter instructed his players to get good purchase inside the 50 and not drop off in the final term.
Despite the last quarter being tight, Marby were unable to register a goal.
Aberfeldie peppered the goals and Jack McNamara continued to take strong contested marks, kicking two goals in the quarter and finishing with six for the match.
Abers ran out convincing winners, 19.20.134 to Maribyrnong Park 6.13.49.
After the game, Adam Potter praised his players for keeping up pressure in their forward half and winning the contested ball even after Marby won clearances.
He believes that by managing his players week by week, his team will be contending for the flag.
In contrast, assistant Marby coach Paul Koulouriotis felt that his team’s turnovers, skill errors and poor decision-making was their downfall.
He felt that they had lost confidence and needed to get back to the basics – fix the skill errors, play one-on-one footy and combine better as a team.
MARIBYRNONG PARK | 6.13.49
Best: C. Van Der Byl, N. Prowse, E. Pearson, J. McKenzie, L. Johnston, J. Byrush
Goals: T. Lee 2, R. Castello, C. Prowse, C. Van Der Byl, C. Lee
ABERFELDIE | 19.20-134
Best: J. McNamara, G. Phillips, J. Cubillo, J. Toy, Z. Hislop, B. McLean, A. Grigg
Goals: J. McNamara 6, Z. Hislop 4, J. Binns 2, A. Grigg 2, R. Blackwell, V. Carboni, D. Thompson