K rock Football

Falcons no match for Dandy

Debutant Patrick Smith in action for Geelong Falcons. (Geelong Falcons Image/Brian Bartlett)

THE return of key players can’t come quick enough for the Geelong Falcons after the Dandenong Stingrays handed them another reality check.

The top-of-the ladder Stingrays claimed a 78-point win over the Falcons at Dandenong’s Shepley Oval in the last of the Futures Round.

The 17.13 (115) to 5.7 (37) result came with the Falcons missing co-captain – and potential No.1 draft pick – Sam Walsh along with fellow skipper Oscar Brownless, Ned McHenry and Cooper Stephens, who were rested after the recent under-18 National Championships.

That quartet will return next week and for the remainder of the season and assistant coach Luke Daffy – who led the side this week in the absence of Danny O’Keefe – said they’re confident there’s still improvement in the group.

“The last month has given us as a coaching group a good indication which players we know who can play a role for us and who we can use for the rest of the season,” Daffy said.

Despite the result, Vic Country representatives Dane Hollenkamp and Connor Idun did their draft prospects no harm, with both impressing in defence under relentless Dandenong attacks.

Idun was considered unlucky not to make the All-Australian squad announced at the end of the National Championships, and he supported Hollenkamp down back.

“Connor played with a lot of confidence, and I think he’s taken a lot from his performances in the championships,” Daffy said.

“We feel that both (Hollenkamp and Idun) have improved a lot, but both still have got areas they need to get better at.”

It was always going to be a tough ask for Geelong, and the task was made more difficult when Dandenong kicked the first five goals of the game.

But Geelong reduced the deficit to 13 points midway through the second term after goals to Blake Ritchie, Jay Dahlhaus and Sam Torpy.

But six unanswered Stingray goals either side of half-time saw them wrest back control and they stormed away in the final term kicking six goals to one.

“We were really happy with how we played in the first half,” Daffy said. “The boys followed instructions and competed quite well in the contest.

“Eventually they got us on the outside, and we were outworked in the last quarter by a pretty good side.”

Torpy (two goals), Doyle Madigan and Ben Morton battled hard in the midfield while since returning to the line-up in the past fortnight, Dahlhaus has shown encouraging signs up forward.

“His pressure forward of the footy has been fantastic, and he’s playing that small forward role really well,” Daffy said.

The Falcons travel up the Midland Highway next Sunday for a ‘home’ game against the Sandringham Dragons, who beat them earlier in the season by three goals.

Twitter: @GreenBradley

DANDENONG STINGRAYS  3.4 7.6 11.9 17.13 (115)

GEELONG FALCONS  0.3 3.5 4.7 5.7 (37)

Goals: Dandenong: Bowman 4 Cottrell 2 Barker 2 Nyuon 2 Cahill Hamill Triep Smith Fletcher Burton Williams. Geelong: Torpy 2 Richardson Dahlhaus Ritchie.

Best: Dandenong: Bedford Bowman Fletcher Cottrell McDonnell Barker. Geelong: Hollenkamp Dahlhaus Torpy Idun Madigan Morton.

At Shepley Oval.

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