Stars showcase premiership credentials

Published on Sunday, July 7, 2024

Author : Nicholas Sacco

The Fitzroy Stars were at their scintillating best in their top of the table Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 clash with Old Paradians, winning by 53 points to claim the NAIDOC Cup at Sir Douglas Nicholls Oval.

After conceding the first two goals of the game, the Stars became relentless in attack, and produced 10 consecutive majors, which set up a very impressive 15.9 (99) to 6.10 (46) triumph, to win the NAIDOC Cup for the first time since 2017.

The Stars now sit on top of the ladder with a game in hand and are in the box seat to claim the minor premiership for the first time in club history. Old Paradians sit in third on the same points but are still favourable to solidify a top three position by season’s end.

There were multiple contributors in the victory for Lionel Proctor’s men. His son Kain showcased his best skills from the opening siren and maintained his form throughout the afternoon.

Allan Norris performed admirably in the ruck but impressed around the ground to earn the Esme Bamblett medal, while Gordon Bamblett and Jordan Proctor were excellent with their rebounding off half back.

The return of Patrick Farrant from VFL duty saw him immediately regain the form that saw him kick 18 goals in three matches earlier this season, kicking four majors for the afternoon. He was joined by Tyson Pickett with four of his own, while also playing multiple roles for the home side.

Sam Gilmore did have his way in the ruck for most of the match for the Raiders, winning hitouts on most occasions while also playing a key role as the extra man in defence when required.

Kyle O’Sullivan was again strong in midfield and did everything he could to win the ball for his side while Lachlan Murdoch was another who produced some great moments in what was otherwise a disappointing day for the visitors, who were missing many key players.

The first 10 minutes of the game saw Ben Turner’s men at their best, with both Murdoch and O’Sullivan finding the big sticks to get out to a 14-point lead.

The Fitzroy Stars had barely gained a possession in that time but as soon as they started to win the football, the tide immediately turned.

Kain Proctor provided the initial spark after kicking a remarkable goal on the run, despite practically being on the boundary line.

It sent the big home crowd into raptures and from then on, it was all the Stars.

The other highlight of the opening term was Patrick Farrant, who kicked three of his side’s five first quarter goals by illustrating the talent that has seen him been selected by Collingwood’s VFL team on six occasions in 2024.

Their five majors came in a 15-minute span which saw them lead by 18 points at quarter time.

The onslaught continued in the second, with Farrant kicking his fourth inside the first three minutes of the term.

Pickett then got involved and produced a three-goal quarter of his own, meanwhile Williamson’s second became another highlight to savour for the Fitzroy Stars, when he dribbled one through the big sticks from a tight angle.

The speed exuberated from the likes of Josh Close and Jordan Proctor was proving too hot to handle for Old Paradians, who could barely gain possession for seconds before losing the football or being held up by the Stars’ strong pressure.

Rufus Jones, who was swung up forward from quarter time, ended a 10-goal run by the home side late in the term, but were faced with a 50-point deficit to chase at the main break.

Coming into the game, the Raiders had conceded the least number of points in the competition this year and started to show their defensive capabilities in the third quarter.

Despite Pickett kicking his fourth after one-minute of play, Old Paradians identified that the Stars were looking to hit Farrant with every inside 50 entry and whether it was Sam & Will Gilmore, or Declan Brunskill playing as the loose in defence, they were able to cut off more chance on goals from the home side.

It meant they conceded just eight points for the term, but they were unable to gain any ascendency forward themselves, despite majors from Lachie Kerr and second gamer Josh Lamers.

The final term was a slower quarter compared to the previous three, with the opening goal of the term not coming until the 11-minute mark, when Kerr kicked his second to make it a 37-point game.

But the Stars had the last laugh, with three goals in seven minutes to confirm one of the club’s best wins of the season.

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