A 72-point loss at the hands of Williamstown didn’t reflect the contest Frankston delivered at Skybus Stadium on Sunday.
The Dolphins were unable to convert their early advantage to the scoreboard but remained ahead in other areas of the game. Winning clearances, marks, tackles and hit outs.
From the opening bounce, a more physical Frankston was evidently better than the opening round. Shem Tatupu on debut followed up his own work from the ruck to win the first clearance and set the scene of his individual performance against a tough opponent.
Whilst dominating possession early in the first term, Frankston were hurt in transition. The Seagulls piled on the first 5 goals which didn’t resemble the match that was unfolding.
At the 29-minute mark of the first term, Corey Rich delivered a simmering ball to Jimmy Miller who went back and nailed his first to get the Dolphins going. Heading into the quarter time huddle, despite dominating possession Frankston were chasing a 37-point deficit.
In the second term, the Dolphins played the game on their terms having 70% possession of the ball, but were unable to add the crucial pressure of the scoreboard. Kicking 4 behinds to Williamstown’s 2 straight goals.
Whilst controlling the play, Frankston went into the main break with a lot of work to do in the second half. At half-time head coach Danny Ryan praised his chargers for being good enough to compete with the Seagulls but urged them to capitalise.
Alfie Jarnestrom and Josh Newman set the manner of the third quarter, respectively laying spine tingling tackles, but Williamstown flexed their muscles getting repeat entries for the best half of the term.
However, the Dolphins back six held strong and were able to launch a counterattack for Riley D’Arcy to add Frankston’s second on the paint of the 50m arc.
Over the siren of the third quarter a scuffle broke out on the wing in front of the vocal Frankston crowd involving all but 6 players on the ground. It seemed to fire up the Dolphins, as the first 15 minutes of the final quarter was easily the best football they have produced so far this year.
At the first bounce of the final term, Nathan Freeman hit the contest at full flight collecting the clearance and sending a well weighted pass to Corey Rich on a lead. Rich converted and Frankston had the first of the last inside 45 seconds without the ball touching the grass.
The Dolphins seemed to be a different side in the final term as Freeman found D’Arcy inside 50 again and he dribbled home his second.
In the early stages of the fourth quarter, this Frankston side with 17 new listed players appeared to have had finally gelled as a unit at an unfortunate time the match.
Mitch McCarthy flew for a big contested mark on the wing and went long and direct to fellow ruckman Shem Tatupu who kicked his first major for the club and the third in a row for the Dolphins.
The play of the term had been governed by Frankston before a double 50m penalty allowed the Seagulls to go from half-back to within striking distance and deflate the momentum of the Dolphins.
In the final minute of the match, Nathan Freeman snapped the Dolphins sixth and added a goal to go along with his 39 disposals.
Post game Danny Ryan was saddened the scoreboard wasn’t a reward for the effort and contest that his players delivered, but was enlightened by the improvement they demonstrated.
“Some fundamental skill errors and lapses in concentration around the defensive elements of the game were what hurt us.
“I was pretty happy with that response in that last quarter,” Ryan said.
The inclining team chemistry within the Dolphins noticeable and it is something that Ryan says he is waiting to see grow each week.
“We know it’s not going to happen over night and we are two games into our 2019 season.
“But we are all impatient, players and coaches and it is not something you can force, it does need to evolve.
“There will still be things we saw today that we wont like in the chemistry but a lot more to like today,” Ryan said.
Frankston will go into round 3 taking on Coburg who beat the Dolphins by 5 points in the final practice match before round 1. Ryan is already looking forward to the contest and what his side can take out of the loss to Williamstown to that game.
“We go into every game more prepared because we have learned from the game we have just come out of.
“We take those learnings with us; we play Coburg at Coburg, we had a ding dong battle in the practice match, they have improved this year too.
“They’re better than last year, but we are really looking forward to it because as I said before, it’s the next step in our learning journey,” Ryan said.
Frankston will travel to Coburg for their first away match of the year next week on Easter Sunday, neither side are yet to register a win and in recent years have competed in some mouth-watering contests.
Williamstown 18.9.117 defeated Frankston 6.9.45
D’Arcy 2, Rich 1, Miller 1, Tatupu 1, Freeman 1.
Freeman 39, Newman 34, Fordham 27, Ferreira 18.
Styles, Fordham, Jarnestrom, McMahon, Freeman, Newman.
By Tyler Lewis
Dolphins Digital Media Team