RD1 '19: Demons vs Lions (Premiership)

Frank Caldow | 16.05.19

Wandsworth Demons 7.9.51 def. North London Lions 7.8.50

It had been 122 days since the clubs first pre-season run in December so with this it was a great feeling to finally arrive at round 1. 

With 15 changes from last years premiership team including 10 brand new faces to the club, the Prem group is a completely different outfit as we push towards the holy grail of a senior 3peat. 

Kicking against a slight breeze in the first term Lions jumped us, clearly winning the opening few centre clearances and looking a lot sharper through the midfield. As the quarter progressed we started to find a bit more rhythm which lead to repeat inside 50s and with this more scoring opportunity. Quarter time we went in 4 goals to 3 up. 

We started the second term like we finished the first, well on top across the ground. Brayden Irving was causing havoc slotting 3 first half majors and when Pig sent a barrel home from 75 meters the momentum was clearly with us. To the Lions credit, for the last part of the quarter they did slow the game down and managed to kick a late goal to keep them in the contest. Half time Scores 7.5 to 4.3.

Kicking against the breeze in the 3rd term the Lions turned up the heat and put the pressure right back on us. Looking significantly more organised they got right on top through the middle and with this 75% of the quarter was played in their forward half. Despite the barrage, our defence lead by Stew Williams held the line incredibly well to only concede 1 goal for the term despite ample opportunities. 

With a 2 goal advantage, kicking with the slight breeze and considering the difficulty of teams scoring all day the game was ours to lose. The first half of the quarter was again a real arm wrestle, with both teams finding it increasingly difficult to find any clean possession. A 50 metre penalty saw Lions kick the crucial opening goal and all of a sudden what breeze we had didn’t matter. When the kicked another with 5 minutes left their crowd was roaring and the momentum was all Lions way. The last part of the quarter was again a real cliffhanger, played almost entirely in our defensive half. To our credit we to put the dam wall up by swarming numbers to the contest and playing disciplined defensive football to limit scoring opportunities. The siren sounded with a stoppage in their forward 50 and just like the Grand Final last year we ended with our noses in front by a solitary point. A really good effort by the boys to hang on, made more amazing by the fact we had won despite being kept goalless for the entire 2nd half. 

Stewie Willaims was best on by furlongs, taking about 10 intercept marks and leading the back 6 which was pummeled in the second half. 

Brayden Irving set up the game with a clinical first half performance, kicking 3 majors before copping a hard second half tag. 

Ryan Chester was a rock when in defence and was very good when moved to the Ruck. 

For the rest of the world players, Owen Ryland played like an Australian across half back and wing and Joe Lloyd showed he is going to be just as damaging forward as he is back. Sam James was also impressive in his first official game of Aussie Rules. 

Goal Kickers: Irving 3, Pig 2, G and Dickfos 1 each

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