Grubbers on the board with first win

Ocean Grove coach Dave Farrell. (Justin Flynn) 408026_12

Ocean Grove is finally on the winner’s list after a 12-point round 10 win at Portarlington on Saturday June 8.

The Grubbers held sway to lead by 34 points going into the final change, but Portarlington hit back with a six-goal final term to reduce the margin to six points at one stage.

But Ocean Grove steadied and was able to sing the club song for the first time this season.

“We kicked 2.5 for the quarter ourselves which compounded the situation,” coach Dave Farrell said.

“At the time it’s the last thing you want but retrospectively it’s a great experience for our group and one we can draw some great teaching moments from. When an opponent gets a run on like that there sometimes isn’t much you can do from the bench to influence the game. We trusted the players and they were calm and communicated really well.”

Playing co-coach Nick Bourke said there was no panic among the young group when Port’s comeback was taking place.

“Port have some top-end talent who really picked up in the last quarter and got on a bit of a roll, but I was really proud of our young group to gain momentum back and hold on,” he said.

“There was a real sense of composure amongst the group knowing what was needed to get the win.”

Ocean Grove has played 36 players at senior level this season, 12 debutants and seven that were part of its 2023 underage program.

“We want to reward behaviours and commitment that model is what we are looking for long-term,” Farrell said.

“We’ve got some guys performing really well at 12pm that model these behaviours at training and in games that will play at some stage, while there’s plenty of consideration around the benefits for and against continuity of players playing under 16 and 18 football at division one level with and against their peers versus exposure to senior level on a case by case basis.”

Farrell said his side learned a lot from the round one loss, which was Port’s first win in 68 games.

“We acknowledged last time we played Port their contest work and effort was first class and expected the same, which this time we were able to match early around the ball,” he said.

“Our starts have been inconsistent and it’s something we are hoping we have gotten on top of now, but will remain a focus each week. We want to put ourselves in a position with 10 minutes to go in a game where if we are not in front we are at least a threat to win and you can’t do that giving sides a five or six goal head start as we had done.”

The Grubbers travel to Queenscliff this week. The Coutas lost to Geelong Amateur by 28 points, but were down by only seven points at three-quarter time.

“We walked away from round one pretty disappointed, we got out to a handy lead in the second quarter before Queenscliff adjusted their game and we didn’t respond to that very well,” Farrell said.

“Another nine games of experience doesn’t sound like a lot but hoping it plays a part in our performance this week.”

Star ruckman Ed Dayman is likely to miss the rest of the season with ankle syndesmosis sustained during the round eight game against Drysdale.

The reserves face an uphill battle to make the finals after losing by 11 points to Portarlington, 7.8(50) to 9.7(61).

Sam Charville and Rowan Hore were best while Harrison Dolley kicked three goals.

Matthew Farrell and Jaymi Butler were best for the Demons with Zach Mevissen booting three majors.


Ocean Grove 3.4(22), 5.10(40), 9.11(65), 11.16(82)

Portarlington 1.1(7), 3.4(22), 4.7(31), 10.10(70)

GOALS: Ocean Grove – Connor Asquith 2, Brady Pritchard 2, Ben Coote, Joe Pierce, Jye Walker, Max Sutton, Nathan Down, Grady Slocombe, Jacob Talarico. Portarlington – Stephen Heppel 4, Mitchell Turnbull 3, Dylan O’Brien, Stephen Walton, Daniel Riosa.

BEST: Ocean Grove – Kye Annand, Max Sutton, Benjamin Bennett, Ben Coote, Jye Walker, Jacob Talarico. Portarlington – Max Ruiter, Daniel Riosa, Dylan O’Brien, Stephen Heppel, Teia Miles, Mitchell Turnbull.