153-7. No that isn’t the final score of a game from AFL Evolution. It was the final score as the Stingrays gave no quarter against the Western Wolves.
It was a stunning first half from the Rays, as their quick ball movement overran any of the Wolves defence. The first half was played almost exclusively in the forward fifty of the Stingrays, who simply outran and outmuscled the Wolves.
The Wolves were gallant on occasion, however their frequent turnover of the ball allowed the Stingrays to dominate through the centre. A sickening head clash towards the end of the second half and subsequent time off looked to throw both teams as the stretcher took the field, however the long break in play didn’t halt the momentum with the Stingrays bagging back to back goals in quick succession to finish the quarter.
Already with a 10+ goal lead, the Stringrays could be forgiven if they had let the Magpies get a few goals back after they returned to the field post the major break.
Instead the Rays continued their run and flair in the middle, always hunting the ball and prepared to go in strong to win it. The Wolves were at a loss at what to do, as they could not match the tenacity of the Stingrays who always managed to clear the rare occasions the ball did make it into the backline.
A juggling ball would lead to a kick in the air for a sneaky goal for the Rays and the clever goals would only continue in the final quarter. A couple of missed behinds early was followed up with a snap at goal, rewarding the team’s effort with a major. The pressure on the Wolves never lessened, as the Stingrays were still running down defenders and the midfield alike as they piled on 13 goals in the second half.
Coach Tracy Kick was pleased with the win, as the team tried out some new tricks.
“Today was all about practising new structures,” Kick said.” [This win] gives some confidence in those structures. When you’ve got something new, people are bit hesitant about why are we doing this, but I think the scoreboard showed why [today]”
Kick also praised the team’s accuracy, indicating “the score in terms of behinds” was the most pleasing aspect of the win.
“To kick 24.9 is much better,” Kick said. “There are negatives in winning by that sort of margin can lead to complacency. One of the things we focused on was trying to make sure we won the footy more than we lost it. The pleasing thing is about confidence, and it gives me the opportunity to try a few different positional changes.”
Goal Kickers: M. Vuong
Best Players: S. Furniss, A. Causley-Todd, A. Hudson-Gofers, K. Lawson, B. Atkins, K. Bishop
Goal Kickers: B. Pride 6, S. Kaukiono 4, T. Callaghan 4, R. Beeson 3, R. Mcgee 2, J. Smith, L. Talbot-Le Scraigne, I. Nielsen, J. Still, N. Vrachnas
Best Players: R. Mcgee, B. Pride, R. Beeson, I. Nielsen, J. Smith, S. Kaukiono