At long last the Millicent Saints are marching in again after breaking a 952-day drought between wins at Island Park on Saturday. The Saints had not tasted success since the 2018 Bendigo Bank Western Border Football League grand final, but were finally arm in arm singing their famous club song following a 29-point win over Casterton Sandford.
Millicent coach Clint Gallio said it was an emotional moment when the final siren sounded. “It has been a long time and there was just a bit of relief for the players, supporters and club people,” he said. “We sung the song with a bit of gusto and it is great to be back on the winner’s list.
Both sides were desperate for the two premiership points after round 1 defeats and it was the Saints who laid the first blow. The visitors charged to a 31-point lead after recording seven goals and double the amount of scoring shots than the home side in the first term.
Gallio said hard work from Frazer Bradley, Sam Willis and captain Jacob Carger across half back to the offensive 50 was the key behind the fast start. “Starting from the backline Frazer Bradley was excellent for us,” Gallio said. “He took at least 15 marks in the first half and rebounded the ball a lot. “Sam Willis is on fire with a couple of great games using his skills through the middle, I think his body and personality has matured a lot.
“Jacob Carger is our captain and is only new to the club, but has a good head on his shoulders and is smart with the ball. “Those three blokes got us moving inside 50.”
At the end of most of the entries inside 50 created by the trio was the more than reliable chest of Gene Robinson. The power forward ensured there were no doubts about his destructive ability with a match-winning haul of nine goals. Robinson was oblivious to the tricky conditions which included on and off rain and bombarded the goals regularly.
However, he was not the only Millicent man to hit the scoreboard with seven individual goal kickers for the victors. Gallio said the sight of his big target inside 50 was something to behold and paid credit to the midfield for providing so many scoring chances.
“Gene is a crafty footballer and super smart kicking goals,” Gallio said. “We are happy for him because he is a good player and after just one round he got a lot of criticism from the outside, so it was great to see him kicking a few goals. “But I put it down to our work with the footy giving the forwards plenty of opportunities.”
After the barnstorming opening term, neither side could hit the scoreboard in the following stanza before the Saints consolidated their lead in the third. A high-scoring final quarter for both teams ensured the contest ended on an entertaining note.
Adrian Jarrad was named as the Cats’ best and was well supported by Adam McKinnon with three majors.