GNFL round 1: Brigades too slick for Railways in grand final rematch

Derek GoforthGeraldton Guardian
Brigades' Jayden Schofield and Dale Williamson both go up for the mark.
Camera IconBrigades' Jayden Schofield and Dale Williamson both go up for the mark. Credit: Colin Sherman

Brigades and Railways put on an entertaining show in their grand final rematch at GBSC Sports Park on Sunday afternoon.

The match had a lot to live up to, with Brigades again victorious, running out convincing winners 17.14 (116) to Railways 9.2 (56). Railways played five first-timers in their opening game of the 2022 season.

However, both coaches were respectful of their opposition. Brigades coach Corey Foot knows his team has “to be at their best to have any chance of success” over their fellow 2021 grand finalists.

Brigades started in control, with goals coming from Sam Perkusich and Jayden Schofield in the early moments.

Both sides had their share of the ball in a physical first quarter. The Blues opened their scoring after eight minutes from Antonio Pirilo, a scrappy ball rolling over the goal line.

The first session was very much tit-for-tat with both sides kicking goals in succession, Jack Cocking keeping the Blues on level pegging.

Dale Williamson kicked his first of the afternoon ensuring Brigades finished the first quarter ahead 3.4 (22) to 2.1 (13).

Brigades dominated the second quarter with quick goals. Williamson scored several from open play and Perkusich kicked his second and third of the afternoon.

Railways fell well off the pace, but tried to respond to Brigades’ goal onslaught. Cocking scored another goal midway through the second session.

Brigades went into the half-time break with a convincing 50-point lead, 11.9 (75) to 4.1 (25)

Blake Messina got his first and Cocking his third with Railways off to a good start for the second half, scoring against a stiff breeze and taking a more spirited approach to the game.

Jack Deschamps kept the pressure on the Blues with his first of the second half.

Brigades then extended their lead through Christopher Ryder, with Railways simply making too many mistakes that the Hawks were only too keen to exploit.

The Hawks started the final quarter with an insurmountable lead, 15.9 (99) to 6.1 (37).

Despite a goal from first-timer Joseph Iaria in a better final quarter for the Blues, Railways simply could not cope with the accuracy and tenacity of the Hawks.

The final 10 minutes saw the heat of the afternoon slow the play and frustrations boil over, with Tom Rowe lucky not to be red-carded after a scuffle with Jamie Ryder. Both players were off with yellow cards in the dying minutes.

The Hawks capped off a convincing 60-point win, with a best on the ground performance by J.J. Clune medallist Jayden Schofield, who bagged five goals.

Brigades showed their depth of experience with goals coming from all over the park. Perkusich and Williamson kicked three apiece, with Graham Sandy, Kris Ryder, Jamie Ryder and Deschamps all adding to the impressive haul.

Railways will need to regroup, with head coach Matthew Powell saying he “took nothing away from Brigades” but acknowledged his team had been “weakened by COVID and sickness”.

However, he said with good performances from their young guns, the team “feel confident” they will bounce back. Ben Saunders put in solid display and Cocking kicked four goals, with singles from Antonio Priolo, Ben Saunders, Blake Messina, Joseph Iaria and Alex Newton.

Other results on the day saw Brigades colts defeat Railways with a convincing result of 12.10 (82) to Railways 3.3 (21). Railways’ reserves were too good for Brigades, winning 7.10 (52) to 4.3 (27). The Railways’ women’s team took out a narrow four-point victory over Brigades, finishing 3.14 (32) to 4.4 (28).

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