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Country stars help shoot down Jets

David Handley celebrates one of his two goals with Adam Garner in Geelong Falcons’ ?-point win over Western Jets. (Geelong Falcons Image/Brian Bartlett)

THE return of their Vic Country representatives has spearheaded the Geelong Falcons to a comfortable 52-point victory over the Western Jets at Colac’s Central Reserve.

The 14.22 (106) to 8.6 (54) result was the Falcons’ first win in three trips to Colac in 2017 and also halted their two-game mid-season losing streak.

Gryan Miers celebrated his return to the Falcons line-up for the first time in two months with a five-goal performance and was well supported by fellow small Lachlan Noble, who kicked four.

Cassidy Parrish and James Worpel were prominent around the midfield, Sam Walsh linked nicely with his run off half-back while Jack Henderson and Connor Idun were instrumental in repelling many of the Jets’ attacks.

Miers has now kicked 29 goals for the season and Falcons coach Danny O’Keefe said he looked dangerous everytime the ball went into their area.

“It was a specific role for him this week to actually get a bit closer to goal because in the (under-18 national) carnival they played him up in the midfield, which was great for his experience,” O’Keefe told krockfootball.com.au post-game.

“But we wanted to get him back in front of goals because we know he can be very dangerous – to the point where we isolated him one-on-one in the square at times.”

Noble’s haul was his best of the season and O’Keefe was thrilled for the Modewarre and South Barwon product to get rewarded on the scoreboard.

“He’s been playing so consistent, he’s been our most consistent player all season,” O’Keefe said of Noble.

“So for him to actually get runs on the board, I’m just so pleased because he’s finally got reward for effort.”

The Falcons trailed by three goals early in the opening term but wrestled control and then took charge by kicking nine unanswered goals from late in the first quarter until mid-way through the third.

“We were into the breeze in the first quarter so I was quite pleased with how we went about it,” O’Keefe said.

“We wanted to hit up strong into the contest, win that inside ball and I thought we did that reasonably well which set us up to be attacking in the second quarter with the breeze.”

Charlie Francis made a shock return for the Falcons as a late replacement for Jarrod Walters and slotted back into the line-up with ease in his return game from a broken wrist suffered in Round 3.

“He’s been running for a long time now, he’s been fully fit ever since he did his wrist so we backed him and trusted him to get out there,” O’Keefe said of the Queenscliff product.

“He brings a lot of drive and leadership. Charlie’s game is not about getting 30 touches, but playing the simple, basic role that we know and trust he can do.

“It’s the first time this year we’ve played with our three co-captains.”

The Falcons have a fortnight’s break before their next clash when travel up the Midland Highway to Ballarat’s Mars Stadium to face the Greater Western Victoria Rebels on July 30.

Twitter: @GreenBradley

GEELONG FALCONS   2.3, 8.11, 10.15, 14.22 (106)

WESTERN JETS   4.2, 4.4, 7.6, 8.6 (54)

Goals ; Geelong : G. Miers 5, L. Noble 4, D. Handley 2, B. Cockerill, C. Parish, A. Garner

Cranbourne : J. Noonan 3, B. Souter 2, J. Hazik, T. Xerri, J. Haddara

Best ; Geelong :  C. Parish, L. Noble, J. Henderson, J. Worpel, G. Miers, C. Idun

Cranbourne : L. Fogarty, X. O”Halloran, N. Stuhldreier, J. Mould, C. Thar, Z. Butters