Inexperience proved costly for Alex Scott and Staff West Gippsland Football Netball Competition in its Worksafe AFL Victoria Community Championships debut at Macedon on Saturday.
The newly-formed competition’s inaugural interleague outfit led at quarter-time and was within 15 points at the main break against Riddell and District Football Netball League, but found itself 44 points down at the final change.
The home side’s cool heads and bigger bodies rose to the fore when the game was on the line and even though West Gippsland never gave up the fight, the damage was already done by three-quarter time, with Riddell and District eventually securing the win 18.15 (123) to 11.5 (71).
Phillip Island’s Jarrod Whitnish was awarded the AFL Victoria Medal as West Gippsland’s best player, while Cora Lynn’s Nathan Langley (four goals) and Inverloch-Kongwak’s Toby Mahoney (three) continued their form in front of goal.
Cora Lynn trio Jeremy Monckton, Billy Thomas and Ryan Gillis, Garfield’s Daniel Helmore and Bunyip’s Joel Gibson were others to impress for the red and gold.
It was a similar story for the competition’s under-18 team, which was right in the game at half-time, only for the home side to draw away in the second half and win 10.16 (76) to 5.12 (42).
Inverloch-Kongwak’s Ryan Sparkes won the medal as West Gippsland’s best player, while Cora Lynn pair Lochie Peluso and Zach Williamson, Dalyston duo Kale Wilson and Flynn Brosnan and Nar Nar Goon’s Eamon Trigg were also standouts.
It was mixed results on the netball court, where the 17-and-under side claimed a 39-29 victory and the open team was overcome 48-37.
Captain Alanna McRae was best-on-court for the junior side, while Christie Hillberg led from the front and ensured her open side never stopped trying.
West Gippsland is now placed 27th on the 2018 Worksafe AFL Victoria Community Championships rankings and looks set to meet Horsham and District Football Netball League at next year’s championships.
The competition extends a sincere thanks to all players, coaches, volunteers and supporters that played a part in this year’s interleague program and we look forward to building on these strong foundations again next year.