For Frankston it was a day with more meaning than your average game day.
On the field, the Dolphin’s climbed one of the steepest mountains in the competition, Williamstown in Williamstown. But off the field, Frankston were raising awareness for the Epidermolysis Bullosa Foundation, a skin condition that is likened to living with third degree burns.
In eye-catching guernsey’s laced with white, blue and pink, the Dolphin’s tested Williamstown for the best part of three-quarters but went down late 8.10 (58) to 18.12 (120).
Whilst the Dolphin’s were playing for more than the four points, Williamstown also came into the game as one of three sides on 30-points and desperate for the victory.
In un-characteristically brilliant conditions at Point Gellibrand, Williamstown struck the first blow, but Corey Rich found some space at half-forward and levelled the scores before Josh Newman arched his back and put his side in front.
Rich added another through a stylish drop punt from just inside the boundary moments after he sidestepped his opponent and drove towards goal but couldn’t convert. With 2.1 at quarter-time, the crafty forward was looming large.
Leading by eight-points at the first interval, Frankston knew the Williamstown pressure was going to lift and it was a matter of matching that pressure to stay in the game.
Without knowing the ladder positions, you would have been easily convinced that this was a clash of the titans in the second term, with either side going goal for goal for the best part of twenty-minutes.
Will Fordham appeared to have slotted the first major of the term but it was deemed touched off the boot after sailing through which allowed the Seagulls to launch their comeback with possession.
After the ‘Gulls hit the front, Jack McHale’s hard running and classy left-foot snap snatched the lead back.
Moments later and following another Williamstown goal, Will Fordham converted his set shot to create the fifth lead change for the term inside twenty-minutes of entertaining football.
The Seagull’s broke the tide by kicking the final three majors of the term to take the lead and walk into the main break with a handy buffer.
Against his old side, skipper Josh Newman was filling his stat sheet nicely at half-time with 19 disposals, four tackles and a goal.
The Dolphin’s were controlling the play in the early stages of third term and were bringing the pressure but were wasteful with their entries that cost them dearly.
Corey Rich added his third but again the ‘Gulls kicked late goals in red time to add a major to the half-time lead.
Williamstown stormed home in the final-quarter, demonstrating a strong running game and moved the margin to a score line that didn’t resemble the contest.
The Dolphin’s conceded 9.6 for the match after the twenty-minute mark each quarter which is 2-points less than the margin that separated the two sides, coach Danny Ryan believes it wasn’t due to his side coming off a six-day break.
“Maybe a little bit but marginal, really not much at all, our boys did look a bit flat late in quarters but I don’t think it was the six-day break.
“It was a bit of discipline and structure around the stoppages that allowed some of those easy exits.
“It was our inability to get our hands on it and control it late but that’s another leaning for us,” Ryan said.
Williamstown away is considered one of the more difficult tasks in the VFL, but for three-quarters the Dolphin’s stuck with the Seagull’s, Ryan says he is pleased they showed they can do it but is saddened it wasn’t a four-quarter effort.
“I’m pleased but still disappointed because 62-points is a bit of a blowout in the end.
“The pleasure, is that bitter-sweet feeling, the pleasure might be there in reflection.
“I am sure I will watch the game and see a lot of I liked for the first three-quarters but also see a lot of bad late I won’t like.
“Our group is still growing and this was always going to be a tough game, you want to compete and be in the game and we were for two and a half quarters,” he said.
Despite conceding goals from turnover in the middle of the ground, the Dolphin’s continued to dare with their ball use and try to take the game on in the final term, a brand of football Ryan encourages his group to play.
“We are pushing that, we want them to be brave and go at the game, we understand they are going to make errors.
“If they are making positive errors, going at the game the way they have been asked to do we are actually okay with that, skill errors happen, it’s more about their decisions.
“For us to go through the middle of the ground and be really attacking, once we fix up our fundamentals and grow as a group together that will hold us in really good stead.
“I am okay with that, I am actually really pleased to see it in a sense,” Ryan said.
Frankston continued to raise awareness for the Epidermolysis Bullosa foundation post match, teeing up a potential partnership with Williamstown to make the game between the two sides an annual fundraiser.
For those who were unable to make it to the Dolphin’s fundraising and awareness ball following the Williamstown match, you can donate to the EB Foundation at https://ebresearchfoundation.org/connect/
The Dolphin’s will return to Skybus Stadium this Sunday when they take on reigning premiers Box Hill at 2pm.
FRANKSTON 8.10.58 DEF BY WILLIAMSTOWN 18.12.120
Rich 3, Zijai 1, Schmidt 1, Fordham 1, McHale 1, Newman 1.
Newman 35, Fordham 30, Mullane 19, Ferreira 16.
Newman, Fordham, Rich.
Article by Tyler Lewis / Photo’s by Diggle Photography
Dolphins Digital Media Team