Barossa District completed an unimpressive, yet effective, 64-point win over lowly ranked Freeling at Williamstown to reclaim second place on the ladder.
Playing at home, Barossa took control of the game early but squandered the chance to put the game to bed by quarter time by kicking 2-6 in the first period.
“We had plenty of opportunities throughout the game but didn’t take advantage as well as we should have,” Roger James, Barossa playing coach said.
The Bulldogs were down a man before quarter time due to Michael Baraglia being concussed in a heavy contest.
Heath Commane loomed as the major threat to the Redlegs as he slotted four goals by half time while matched up against Freeling’s best defender Shane Schubert.
Despite the margin increasing to 36 points by half-time Freeling were still well within reach if they could just get some momentum and regular delivery to full forward Dan Horsnell, who finished the game with seven of his team’s nine goals.
Darren Francis was swung onto Commane in the second half with Schubert heading to James who had been quiet up to that point.
The move of a shorter defender onto Barossa’s, and the league’s best tall forward, was to no avail as Commane rounded out his day with eight goals.
However, Freeling coach Mark Tylor’s major concern doesn’t lie with his defence.
“We need other options to score goals, we’re getting nothing out of our small forwards or our second tall forward and our on ballers need to chip in a bit more up forward to spread the load,” Tylor said.
Giant Freeling ruckman Rhys Clinton didn’t have things all his own way with undersized Bulldog ruckman Dane Pfeiffer battling hard all day to negate the contest, allowing the class of his midfield unit to shine through.
Michael Taylor did what he does best, getting down and dirty at the bottom of the contest to feed the ball out to Matt and Paul Stelzer along with Jesse Aish who was smooth as ever in his return from injury.
Matt Stelzer had an impact on returning from a hamstring injury to slot four goals.
Underlining the sheer class of players at James’ disposal, James Angus also returned from a hamstring injury to form an imposing combination alongside Commane as dual centre half forwards with timeless veteran Simon Wills patrolling the goal square.
For the second week in a row Freeling was unable to respond when needed in the second half with Tylor noting that the team was its own worst enemy with turnovers proving costly but preparation is an even more pressing issue for the Redlegs mentor.
“Of the 21 players in our side on Saturday, only seven of them trained both nights last week, that’s not good enough if you want to improve things like skills.
“We burnt the ball repeatedly by hand and foot. As the old saying goes, ‘You reap what you sow’.”
Preparation will be key for the Redlegs’ next challenge as they host third-ranked Willaston.
“We’ve got nothing to lose, I firmly believe that I’m a chance in every game I go into, the opportunities are there, it’s what you do with those opportunities that matters.”
Tylor will be looking for a lift from his entire playing group this week.
For James, his team faces an upbeat Kapunda outfit coming off back-to-back wins and looking for another scalp.
The possible return of ruckman Ross Christie will be vital to the outcome of this game. Christie had been sidelined by what was initially believed to be a corky but was later diagnosed as a tear in his driver.