What to expect from the opposition when Williamstown heads to Preston City Oval to take on the Northern Blues. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jason Heidrich)
Williamstown has named a largely settled line-up for tomorrow’s game, making four inclusions and to its 27-man squad. Mitch Norton, Jake Owen, Jason Pongracic and Lachlan Schultz all come in after strong performances for the Seagulls’ Development side. It looms likely that Williamstown will make no changes for Saturday’s game.
Williamstown got its 2017 off to the perfect start on Easter Monday, accounting for last year’s grand finalists Casey by 23 points.
It continued a good string of results for the Seagulls over pre-season, where they had a positive 3-2 record from their five practice matches.
LAST TIME WE MET
A youthful Northern Blues side fought gallantly but were outgunned by Williamstown, who triumphed by 55 points at Ikon Park in Round 20 of last season.
Northern Blues 6. 7. (43) defeated by Williamstown 13. 20. (98)
BY THE NUMBERS
Williamstown have named 14 VFL premiership players in their line-up, 13 of which featured in the win over Casey last weekend.
While giving up the majority of the ball against the Scorpions, Williamstown were efficient where it mattered, punishing Casey in the contested ball stakes and converting on the scoreboard. Their on-ballers made the difference, with Adam Marcon (32 disposals, 13 clearances), Nick Meese (67 hitouts, 14 tackles) and Michael Gibbons (27 disposals, two goals) firing on all fronts.
The Seagulls aren’t lacking in fire-power either, something which Northern knows all too well. When the sides met on two occasions last year, Williamstown had 80 scoring shots across both matches.
The Seagulls bolstered their already strong midfield stocks with the returning Adam Marcon, who made his way from Richmond. They were also chief benefactors of the Frankston situation, signing six former Dolphins including Ben Cavarra, Kyle Gray, Daylan Kempster, Josh Newman, Josh Pickess and Jason Pongracic. All bar Pickess have been named in tomorrow’s squad.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Balance has been and still is the name of the game for Williamstown. One of the premier teams of the competition in the last five years, their sustained success has come from contributors all over the field.
Their star performers last weekend were two players Northern knows all too well, with former Blues Adam Marcon and Nick Meese shining in their opening round win. The two dominated in a deep Williamstown midfield, also containing the likes of Liston Trophy winner Michael Gibbons, former Frankston gun Ben Cavarra and evergreen skipper Ben Jolley.
With Peter Faulks holding the fort down back and Arryn Siposs and Sam Dunell proven goal-scorers at VFL level, the Seagulls have an incredibly even side which has held them in such good stead.
IN THE BALANCE
There’ll be no shortage of quality midfielders in tomorrow’s game, with Carlton’s Nick Graham and Sam Kerridge joining the likes of Luke Russell and captain Tom Wilson in the middle for the Northern Blues. With both sides having a number of players that can rotate through the centre, the midfield battle is looming as decisive: if either team can gain an ascendancy at the coalface at Preston City Oval, it’ll go a long way to determining a result either way.