By David Nagel
There were two shining lights that illuminated the Nar Nar Goon Recreation Reserve on Saturday.
The first…the light towers that were turned on at three-quarter-time to bring much-needed visibility to a dark and dreary day of winter football.
And secondly…and most importantly in the context of the year ahead…was a Tooradin-Dalmore side that lit up the afternoon sky with a hard-fought 12.8.80 to 7.6.48 triumph over a plucky Goon outfit.
The Seagulls are now just one win away from a perfect record against all-comers, with a home game against Kooweerup this week – in front of a bumper-crowd planned for the hill – set to rubber-stamp the Seagulls dominance over the rest of the competition.
The Seagulls have shown brilliance at times this season, blitzing their opposition with a clean and precise brand of football…but this victory was built on true grit and a fierce determination for the contest.
The Gulls certainly didn’t have things go their own way.
Nar Nar Goon played the better football early, leading by seven points at quarter time…with the Seagulls staying in the contest via some free kicks and 50-metre penalties that resulted in goals.
We’re not talking out of school here…with a Tooradin player overheard at three-quarter time saying his team had a good run on the day!
But to put the victory down to outside assistant from those officiating would be an insult to this Tooradin-Dalmore team.
When the game was up for grabs in the second half…the Gulls were simply superior.
Tooradin led by seven points at half time, with two third-quarter goals to in-form forward Stewart Scanlon kicking the margin out to 19 points at the final break.
Scanlon first made the most of a relayed kick downfield, calmly slotting his fourth goal for the afternoon, before his fifth goal – at the 23-minute mark of the third term – highlighted why the Gulls are such a dangerous proposition this year.
On a day when extreme skill took a back seat, the Gulls created something out of nothing.
Piva Wright won a ruck-tap on centre wing, which found Blake Grewar clear of congestion, with the Gulls’ number-30 quickly launching into the forward line.
Scanlon, outnumbered, then took a mark he shouldn’t have taken – it was awkward – before setting himself and kicking truly.
Wright to Grewar to Scanlon…three of the Gulls big-guns decided to have an impact and the result was beautiful to watch.
Tooradin would kick the first goal of the last quarter, via a Jake O’Donnell mark and goal, before the Goon lifted for one last shot at the title.
Trent Armour, outstanding all day through the midfield, cut the margin back to 19 points, before full-forward Dermott Yawney launched an absolute bomb with the wet footy to cut the deficit to 13 with just five minutes ticked off the clock.
Trent Noy then missed a golden opportunity to reduce the margin to single digits before the Seagulls finished strongly.
A long bomb from Stevie Robb was followed by the sealer from Jimmy Trezise and the Gulls had prevailed after the Goon’s best shot.
Scanlon’s five goals were crucial to the 32-point win, while Lewis Hill and Brent Macaffer continued their brilliantly consistent form. Stalwart defender Adam Galea stuck firm to his task on Yawney, while Trent Adams and Trezise were others to shine under lights.
The Goon wasn’t that far away, with that stray kick from Noy halting some hard-earned momentum in the final term.
Armour and Yawney finished with two each for the vanquished, while youngsters Tex Marsham and Nate Pipicelli joined Armour and Jake Smith on the best players list.
The Gulls host the Demons this week, while the Goon faces another tough assignment with an away trip to Inverloch.