Luckless Grubbers continue to push on

Forward James Paterson takes a great mark under pressure. (pictures Ivan Kemp) 290890_04

By Justin Flynn

Ocean Grove continues to fight the Bellarine Football League season out despite not being a realistic finals chance for some time.

The Grubbers went down by 14 points to finals bound Modewarre in wet and slippery conditions at Ray Menzies Oval on Saturday. They lost by just nine points in the round seven game earlier this season.

Coach Pete Davey said losing seven games by 21 points or less, although disappointing, paints a promising picture going into 2023.

“On face value, winning only four games to date is disappointing but losing seven games by 21 points or less does add some context,” he said.

“I am really proud of the way we have fronted up and fought games out as it’s shown character and grit when we’ve been up against it but unfortunately, you don’t get awarded points for being competitive.

“Modewarre is a club I have a lot of respect for but they are also a team that we seem to match up well with.

“In our two previous match ups, we’ve led for 180 of the 200 minutess so it was certainly a game we went into with a high degree of confidence. In the end they were just more polished in the wet.”

Davey said he thought his young group was the better side in the opening half on the weekend.

“In the end we didn’t make the most of our opportunities early,” he said.

“I thought we were the better side in the first half but we missed some relatively easy shots on goal and it was a long way back when we looked at the scoreboard early in the third and saw 1.8.”

Davey was pleased with the way the Grubbers fought out the game and weren’t blown away by the fourth-placed Warriors.

“The last 15 minutes showed a lot of character,” he said.

“The margin got out to 32 points and at that point I quietly said to our coaching group that we didn’t deserve to go down by this much but then our guys came with a second wind and made the last 13 minutes quite interesting.”

Ocean Grove faces a huge Battle of the Bridge game against Barwon Heads this weekend before finishing off with Geelong Amateur, which will likely need to win to play finals.

“This week is more about giving some young players a taste of the rivalry between the two clubs,” Davey said.

“If you speak to any of the retired players, they quickly recite stories about the premierships and the Bridge games. We obviously won’t be winning the flag this year but we can allow our young players the opportunity to start creating their own stories.”

Davey said the round eight loss to Ammos had left his group eager to spoil the party this time around.

“While we’re not playing for a spot in the five, we do know what the fixture looks like and we know that we can potentially have a big say in who takes that final spot,” he said.

“Our previous match up with that club left a sour taste in my mouth as well as a number of our players. There are some scores to settle both on field and on the scoreboard so that will be talked about going into Round 18.”

Davey said the final two rounds will be about setting the right habits and standards going into next season.

“I’ve spoken a number of times about next year and beyond and that the habits we keep now will be the standards we take into preseason training,” he said.

“It would be great and I think a just reward if we got a win or two over the final two rounds but as long as we turn up and continue to show maximum effort and care for one another, that’s ultimately what I’m looking for.”

OCEAN GROVE holds third spot on the Reserves ladder ahead of Geelong Amateur on percentage after a 6.5(41) to 1.9(15) win against Modewarre.

The final two weeks will reveal whether the Grubbers take a double chance into the finals.

They meet fourth-placed Barwon Heads this weekend and fifth placed Geelong Amateur in the final home and away game.

The win against Modda put Ocean Grove two games and percentage clear of them in sixth position.

Trent Handreck, Jacob Talarico and Bryce Dunell were best for Ocean Grove on a slippery deck.

ROUND 16

Ocean Grove 1.3(9), 1.6(12), 3.8(26), 6.8(44)

Modewarre 1.1(7), 4.6(30), 5.7(37), 8.10(58)

Goals

Ocean Grove: James Paterson, Ed Dayman, Max Sutton, Harley Pearce, Fletcher Long, Campbell Snookes.

Modewarre: Jeremy Ollis 2, Tom Hornsey, Jack O’Hanlon, Connor Joseph, Matt Kasparian, Zack May, Thomas Worpel.

Best

Ocean Grove: Glenn Campbell, Craig Goodger, Fletcher Keck, Jayden McHenry, Cameron Marchbank, Josh Horton.

Modewarre: Matty McKim, Jeremy Ollis, Zack May, Thomas Worpel, Morgan Fenton, Marcus Overman.