The Gibson Footy Club are sitting on top of the EDFA ladder after running over the top of reigning premiers Esperance at Gibson Oval at the weekend. Despite blustery conditions out at Gibson, skills were of a high standard with the final score reading 11.7 73 to 4.5 29 to the home side, 44 point victors.
The first quarter was a tight and difficult tussle with neither team able to assert any sort of dominance over the other. A long Roger Parson’s goal from outside the 50 m arc rolled in despite a desperate Steve Cocking Chase and another Reece Griffiths goal from distance had the Gibson defence on the back foot, trying to compete against the sublime skills of Richie Bourne out of the midfield. Two goals from the Gibson forwards steadied the ship, including a strong pack mark and goal from returning big man Sam Melican.
The Gibson team received a strong bake at quarter time from coach Mick Kruger, who demanded a more even spread from his players. The team responded, and kicked away in the second to be up at the half. An Esperance turnover on the last line of defence saw a convincing goal to Gibson’s Sam Featherstonehaugh and an inspirational running shot from distance from midfielder George Bunge had the Gibson faithful honking from their cars.
Esperance came out with intent after the main break sending Bourne and White forward to build pressure on the Gibson defence. The pair scored two goals early in the quarter, Bourne’s kick from the boundary was a defender’s nightmare, while White scored his first for the game with a solid contested mark, which gave him a kick from directly in front. That didn’t deter the Gibson players, the midfield continued to toil away to provide opportunities for an in-form Melican and a dangerous Matthews. A high hit to vice-captain Bunge early in the quarter sent a scare through the Tigers camp, but he was able to return and even chipped in with his second goal for the game later in the quarter. Gibson lost Stewart to a suspected broken nose after he was collect high and late, midway through the quarter, which gifted the black and gold a goal to push ahead of the Dogs.
The last quarter promised fight from both teams, Gibson pushing for their first win over the Bulldogs in two years, Esperance testing their resolve to run over the top of their opponents. Esperance probed early but Gibson’s astute defence held firm, rebounding strongly for the majority of the term. Gibson piled on the goals to finish with 11 all up, Esperance remained goalless for the quarter. Melican ended the game with five goals, captain Patch Jannings was solid all day, and ran out the game despite a strong high hit late in the game. Gibson’s half forwards impressed all day, providing an aerial and ground contest despite the trying conditions.
Esperance had strong contributions from Bourne and Parson’s. Both Woods toiled hard in the guts, driving the Bulldogs forward tirelessly.
Gibson move to the top of the ladder but will have to keep an eye on the reigning premiers, who will be hell-bent on redemption.