Stingrays go one from two

Jemma Reynolds had 18 disposals in the loss. 403699 Picture: GARY SISSONS.

By Jonty Ralphsmith

The Dandenong Stingrays boys ran over the top of Gold Coast Academy at Belvedere Reserve on Sunday, winning 15.8 98 to 10.9 69.

The Rays were led by a five-goal haul to Cooper Hynes and splendid midfield performance from Harry Doughton who played like he had a point to prove after missing out on a Vic Country trial.

Doughton set the tone for his day with a strong holding the ball tackle at the first centre stoppage of the day, using his free kick to hit up a leading Jacob Grant inside 50.

That sort of hard tackling and handsome inside-50 kicking was a feature of the midfielder’s day, as he finished with 18 disposals and five tackles.

After Gold Coast wrested territory and control for much of the first quarter, Doughton set up Harvey Langford inside 50 who kicked a stabilising goal for the hosts.

After trailing by 24 points at quarter-time, the Stingrays dominated the second quarter to give themselves a strong launchpad for a deadly second half.

Cooper Hynes took a series of contested marks inside 50, Sam Lewis (23 disposals) won a series of clearances, Berwick’s Kane Hurst was unstoppable as the Rays tightened up in defence and fellow Berwick boy Riak Andrew laid some tough tackles.

With Hynes spending time forward, on-ball minutes opened up for some lesser known names including Devon Meadows’ Toby Sinnema, who was clean in tight.

Tyson Anic’s running goal from 50, set up by a chain of handballs after a Charlie Orchard one-on-one win on the wing, was the highlight of the second quarter and was decisive in turning the momentum.

Soon thereafter, the Rays went the length of the field from a kick-in with Endeavour Hills’ Jacob Grant the beneficiary, before Lewis burst from clearance and set up Hynes to put the perfect footnote on a strong quarter of footy.

Dandenong continued on the momentum in the third, kicking six goals to two, including four in quick succession to jump out to an 18-point three-quarter-time lead.

Other standouts included Max Lee, who brought energy and spark on the wing, Berwick’s Raiden Bergman, who capitalised on his first opportunity of the season and Tom Sullivan, who showed his speed on several occasions, while Fountain Gate forward Coren Giliam snagged a major.

Quinn Harvey showed glimpses on debut, St Kilda father-son prospect Elwood Peckett had nice moments and Pat Bloink connected well with teammates.

Earlier, Dandenong’s girls went down 4.1 25 to 6.11 47 against Gold Coast Academy.

Their absences, however, opened the door for a series of debutantes to make their mark, with Alice Cunnington the best of the lot.

Cunnington showed her calmness in traffic and took two big contested marks in quick succession in the third quarter as the Rays looked to hang on.

The Stingrays jumped the well-regarded Gold Coast early, kicking the only two goals of the first quarter via Molly Reimers and Charlotte Gilmore.

Dandenong played smart footy and were desperate in the contest, led by Kate Terri (22 disposals, six tackles), whose two-way presence in the engine room has been a surprise and welcome addition this season.

Gold Coast took the lead at the 13-minute mark of the second quarter with the visitors outclassing Dandenong in the second half.

In her second match at the level, Ruby Geurts (16 disposals, five marks) stood tallest in defence, winning several intercept possessions critical one-on-ones.

Another debutante, Gabrielle Mehrmann, kicked the Stingrays’ two second half goals, while Jemma Reynolds and Nikita Harris both had some nice moments.

At Morwell, Gippsland won its girls and boys games over Western.

The girls produced a four-goal-to-zip final quarter to overcome a 14-point three-quarter-time deficit to win 6.4 40 to 4.4 28.

Pick one fancy Ash Centra was back towards her best with 30 disposals, five tackles and four goals, while Pakenham local Abby Hobson was an aerial threat all day.

Xavier Lindsay continued his fine form with 26 disposals in Gippsland 10.17 77 to 8.6 54 victory over Western, while Jesse Craven applied pressure and Tom Hanily worked hard, the Power pulling away from Gippsland in the second half.