By JARROD POTTER
TAC CUP – ROUND 12
STORMING the Eastern fortress, Dandenong Stingrays walked away with an emphatic 73-point triumph over the Ranges.
After a gutsy first term, the inexperienced Ranges’ line-up fell away, never to return to the contest as Dandenong ran riot.
Dandenong’s wayward kicking left the door slightly open at the first change, but from then on there would be no mercy.
With a centre resembling a chocolate pudding pile, those who dirtied up were clear standouts. The muddy Rays cleanly possessed the pill and left the mostly stain-free Ranges to go home and lightly soak their tops in defeat.
It started from the tap-down work of Dylan Atkins – who can’t continue to fly under the radar for much longer – to the interior force of Max Kleverkamp, Tommy Glen, Mitch Lewis, Nathan Scagliarini and newcomer Jack Gipp.
They showed the only way to shine in the conditions was to get elbow deep in the quagmire and emerge with clearance after clearance.
The Dandy mudmen set the stage for easy transition work out the midfield and clinical passing to the likes of Riley D’Arcy (four goals) and Tom Murphy (three goals) kept their names in the reckoning for Stingrays selection once the prime movers return while in-and-under types Chad Harris and Danny Allsop (two goals each) left the Eastern defences in pieces.
Berwick debutant Dylan Morris was another to slot a goal and was mobbed by his filthy team mates to celebrate the first, of hopefully many, TAC Cup majors.
Pleasingly for the Rays, even when the margin ballooned out through the third term, the effort remained. Tackles were still bone-rattling. The defenders still spoiled strongly. Above all, every Ray held his head up and didn’t give in until the last siren.
For Stingrays coach Craig Black, it was the perfect way to bounce back from last week’s lacklustre loss to Calder.
“It’s just a credit to the group – looking at them after the game last week they were disappointed with the result and Aiden Bonar getting injured,” Black said. “As a coach I think you just love what you saw today.
“I reckon our style of footy this year is a bit different than the last couple – I reckon we’re a little bit better suited to a bigger ground and that’s why the guys work hard pre-season.
“We were lucky enough to win by a big margin, but our effort around the contests was completely different to last week.”
The win keeps Dandenong well placed heading into the last phase before finals, sitting fourth behind Geelong, Sandringham and Murray.
They’ll head to Oakleigh on Saturday and wear the Dandenong Redlegs guernseys in honour of the former VFA side. The match starts at 1pm.
TAC CUP SCOREBOARD
EASTERN RANGES 1.2 2.6 2.9 3.10 (28)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 1.5 8.6 11.9 15.11 (101)
EASTERN RANGES Goals: S. Lovell 2, P. Wallis. Best: J. Haynes, N. Mullenger-Mchugh, J. Begley, K. Keppel, D. Moore, T. Hollins.
DANDENONG STINGRAYS Goals: R. D’Arcy 4, T. Murphy 3, D. Allsop 2, C. Harris 2, K. Beveridge, D. Morris, L. Dalmau, L. Young. Best Players: T. Glen, D. Atkins, M. La Fontaine, B. Morrish, R. D’’Arcy, T. Murphy.