2 April, 2024

Warriors storm to victory

A new look Stawell has started their season off on a brilliant note, defeating reigning premiers Ararat by 14 points on Good Friday.

By Chris Graetz

New recruit Josh Fowkes has started with a bang dominating in the ruck and was one of Stawell's best players. PHOTO: Stephen Walker
New recruit Josh Fowkes has started with a bang dominating in the ruck and was one of Stawell's best players. PHOTO: Stephen Walker

It was a tight first quarter with neither team giving an inch with Stawell having a slender three-point lead at quarter time.

Stawell's second quarter was brilliant, kicking five goals to one to extend the lead to 29 at halftime.

Ararat, however, showed their class after halftime to reduce the margin to 17 points at the last break. In the last quarter, both teams had their chances and Ararat came hard, kicking seven behinds but it was Stawell hanging on to win 77-63.

For Stawell, Cody Driscoll returned to the league in fine style kicking four goals with James Sullivan contributing with two.

Stawell coach Tom Eckel was impressed with how the team gelled after gaining new recruits.

"We had a couple of guys that hadn't met everyone and had a chance to gel but everyone stayed composed nice and early considering the occasion and crowd," Eckel said.

"They just adapted quickly. I am proud of the boys for how they went out and handled things.

"It was a great day for the club defeating Ararat in reserves and senior football as well as all netball grades."

Eckel was impressed with Cody Driscoll, Jackson Dark and Josh Fowkes.

"Cody is a very good player. He has had a good season and he has a lot left in the tank. He hasn't fully got going yet but when he does he is going to be very dangerous," Eckel said.

"Jackson Dark was just solid down back and Josh Fowkes has hit the ground running."
Stawell will play St Arnaud in a practice match this weekend.

When asked if training on a smaller ground may have impacted them a bit, Ararat co-coach Tom Mills said it may have at times but emphasised that their skills were poor.

"Possibly at times it may have put our ground positioning out, but that would have been the extent of it," Mills said.

"They dominated centre clearances and got first use of the ball and our skills weren't very good, especially our kicking."

Mills said that Jake Robinson stood out alongside Robert Armstrong and Bayden Cosgriff.

"Robinson kicked three goals through the midfield and stood above everyone else skills-wise," Mills said.

"Armstrong was great and was involved more in the centre in the second half and gave us great defensive pressure and also kicked two goals whilst Bayden Cosgriff was great on Ash Driscoll keeping him to a goal."

Ararat will play Bungaree in a practice match this weekend and will look to rebound when they play Horsham in round one on April 20.

In the other football matches on the day, Stawell's reserves won 121-76 whilst Ararat's juniors were too good winning by 40 and 63 points in the under-17s and under-14s respectively.


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