Derksen delivers as Bombers break through

Jared Derksen kicked the match winner for Emerald on Saturday against Upwey Tecoma. 357897 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Marcus Uhe

Jared Derksen’s match-winning kick for goal never looked like missing once it left his heavily bandaged right leg.

The Emerald key forward dislocated his knee against Pakenham in round four of the Outer East Football Netball Premier Division season and was forced to watch from the sidelines in round five as his Bombers suffered a fifth-straight loss to open the season, against Woori Yallock.

With the clock ticking in a tense final term, Derksen was awarded a free kick in a ruck contest and nailed his fifth goal of the game from 30 metres out on a slight angle, to put his Bombers three points ahead against Upwey Tecoma in the 25th minute.

The final few minutes saw the Tigers press looking for a winner with repeat inside 50 entries but the Bombers held firm every time.

A gang tackle on Tigers star Sam Wicks was rewarded with a free kick, Michael Richardson’s positioning saw him intercept a number of attacks with timely fists, and Derksen forced a deep boundary throw in deep in the forward 50 on a fortuitous rolling kick for goal.

The siren went shortly after the throw in, lifting a weight off the Bombers’ shoulders as they sung the team song for the first time since last season’s grand final.

Coach Sein Clearihan said the win was reward for effort after a brutal start to the year in which they played four of last season’s Premier Division finalists in the first six weeks.

“I said it would take us until round six/seven to start getting a little bit of continuity and understanding of the pace of the game,” Clearihan said.

“It’s been a massive challenge for us and the boys have done really well.

“You could tell it was going to go down to the wire, it was just about whoever got that break.

“In the last quarter, both sides were trying to switch the play at all costs.

“The last minute it was a man-on-man situation trying to bullock the ball forward and the boys prevailed.

“They got that breakthrough and it was a really good game.”

The match was littered with momentum swings but was locked at 8.2 50 apiece at half time.

Emerald was held goalless in the third term and trailed by seven points as they turned for home, but kicked three goals to one in the final term to break through for a momentous win after a challenging week off the field.

The ability to capitalise on momentum and the importance of stopping a team from getting a run on is quickly becoming the primary focus for the Bombers, having been opened up on a number of occasions in small bursts already this season.

In round five they fell away dramatically in the second half against Woori Yallock after keeping pace in the first two quarters, while each of Pakenham, Narre Warren and Olinda Ferny Creek kicked five goals in a quarter against them.

It forced Clearihan to remind his chargers to go back to basics and stick to the principles and structures that brought them success in Division One.

“In Division One, if you push sides and get three or four goals up on them, you’re normally safe.

“In Premier Division, though, you’re never safe – you can be five or six goals up and a side will kick a quick three, and all of a sudden it’s a three goal ball game, and you start to doubt.

“When you get under the pump, you go into individual mode and try to do too much, where I say to them ‘just play your role’ – you don’t have to have your 15-20 touches, have eight or nine good clean ones when it’s your turn to play your role.

“Especially against Narre Warren and Woori Yallock, they were over-trying and over-compensating.

“I think they’re slowly beginning to realise that you just have to play your role and I think that stood out on Saturday.

“They’re working really well as a team and they’re starting to understand the pace of it and the demands of Premier Football, and it payed off on Saturday.”

Ewan Wadsworth, Steven Kapahnke and Harvey Siwes have been strong additions to the premiership-winning side, while Mitchell Thomas continues to evolve in the back half.

Emerald heads to Officer on Saturday to face the Kangaroos.