Wayward ‘Rays do enough

Jai Taylor, pictured recently, helped the Rays to their ninth win in a row. 182660 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Hayley Wildes

The Dandenong Stingrays were tested by the Northern Knights on Saturday but, as they have done all season long, found a way to get the win and extended their winning streak to nine games.

The Rays were wasteful in front of goal and it cost them dearly in the opening half as they struggled their way to 2.11 (23) at the main break.

Kicking with the wind in the first term, Dandenong peppered the goals and had almost triple the amount of inside 50s but was unable to convert. Despite their dominance around the ball, the Stingrays trailed 3.0 (18) to 1.5 (11) at quarter time.

The Knights were getting the ball out the back and transferring play easier than other Rays’ opponents have been able to throughout the year.

Another inaccurate term in the second was beginning to frustrate the Dandy players as they were unable to gain the ascendancy despite having plenty of the ball. A late goal to Corey Ellison was important and trimmed the lead to under two kicks.

Trailing by eight points at half-time had the Rays well and truly in the game, just needing to finish off their work better.

The third term was one of complete domination and the signs were there early. Jeremy Burton put on his afterburners and kicked a fine running goal just 18 seconds into the quarter to start what was a game-winning quarter of football for Dandenong.

Although the Rays still struggled with efficiency in the forward line, they were able to completely own the quarter and two goals in two minutes to Finlay Bayne and Bailey Williams had the side two goals up at the 10-minute mark.

The likes of Lachlan Young, captain Campbell Hustwaite and Daniel Frampton were beginning to assert themselves on the contest.

Bayne and Williams both booted their second goals of the quarter to have Dandenong 34 points up at the final break. Their strong lead was a welcome reward for effort.

The Knights kicked with the wind in the final term and dominated proceedings. To their credit, they kept coming and their accurate kicking in front of goal had them just 22 points down halfway through the term.

Despite not registering a goal in the last, Dandenong claimed the win – its ninth on the trot – 8.19 (67) to 8.2 (50).

Lachlan Young and Campbell Hustwaite were superb, while Finlay Bayne and Bailey Williams booted vital goals when they were needed.

The win means the Rays (13-1) have locked up top spot on the ladder with two rounds to play. There is no TAC Cup action this weekend, with Round 15 seeing the Rays travel to Ballarat to face the Geelong Falcons on Saturday, 18 August.