Millicent blows rivals away

Millicent’s Bendigo Bank Western border Football Legaue premiership defence continues to pick up pace after it accounted for West Gambier in its first win at home this year.

The Saints not only had to overcome a Roos outfit bouncing after an inspiring win in the previous round, but also the elements with a strong breeze causing havoc at McLaughlin Park.

With the wind blowing across the face from the clubrooms to the scoreboard, shooting at goal required immense skill and concentration and both teams battled to master the art.

The tone was set from the opening term where the rivals produced 13 scoring shots, but could only convert one of them.

Despite West being the first to find the big sticks and hit the lead thanks to Dylan Gillies, the Saints appeared the better team enjoying most of the possession.

Josh Werchon and Sam Willis combined well across the half forward line to move the ball into the arch with fluency.

Although the hosts were missing coach Clint Gallio and Tom Hutchesson whilst trailing on the scoreboard, they were far from pressing the panic button.

Millicent captain Tom Renzi said his team was in a good spot at the quarter time break and felt ready for bigger things.

“Honestly we were actually pleased with the first quarter,” he said.

“We were kicking into the breeze and still moved the ball forward reasonably well, but we kicked eight points and a couple out on the full.

“That is the how the dice rolls sometimes and was nothing to be concerned about.”

The Saints proved this mindset when they came out firing in the second term.

A West midfield welcoming back big-inclusion Lawrey Bradley-Brown, but missing the services of coach Daron McElroy – who was stuck on the sidelines due to injury – struggled to sustain the fight.

Dylan Bromley was the main target up forward and his strong marks were soon translating into goals as Millicent marched into the distance.

In the space of 20 minutes, the Saints turned a two-point deficit into a 37-point lead and there was no looking back.

Bromley made the biggest impact bombing a hat-trick of majors, while Finn Grimes was dominant in the ruck and Frazer Bradley had his moments running out of the centre square.

Even when West enjoyed the breeze in the third term and won the passage of play marginally after Reece Cowling and Dylan Gillies both found the big sticks, it still struggled to leave a mark on the game.

The Saints still found ways to ensure their advantage was impregnable and most of them were down to young gun Eli Redman, who had a day out.

The younger brother Essendon star Mason Redman showed he is more than capable of making a name for himself.

Redman generated plenty of electricity on the wing and used his speed to catch the Roos on the backfoot and create countless entries.

He also produced a special moment for the highlight reel when instead of passing off to a teammate, the Under 18 kept running, took a long shot at goal and judged the wing perfectly by placing the ball outside the right point post before it swung back through the middle.

It was a moment of brilliance that lit up a quiet third term before the Saints went on another charge with a tailwind.

At three-quarter time Renzi wanted his boys to take their goal tally into double figures and they did just that.

Willis opened the last term with a bang, snapping truly from the pocket inside the first 90 seconds.

This set the tone as Millicent bombarded the goals to salute a comprehensive 49-point win.

Another up and comer to perform was Werchon, who finished up with a game-high haul of three goals.

Renzi said the young brigade had a big impact on the result with the team’s mindset in the conditions also critical.

“With a few blokes being out it allows the younger players to step up,” he said.

“We pride ourselves on creating a good culture and creativity is important for us.

“Eli played well and so did many other young lads which is very pleasing.

“Everyone plays in the conditions and I said to the boys you could either use as an excuse or just deal with it.

“We had to adjust to the wind after kicking eight behinds in the first term, so it is just about learning along the way and playing your best footy on the day.”

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