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VFL: A night to forget in Footscray

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 14:  Nicholas O'Kearney of Sandringham runs during the 2017 VFL round 05 match between the Coburg Lions and the Sandringham Zebras at Piranha Park on May 14, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Rob Prezioso/AFL Media)
Nick O'Kearney continued his strong form on a tough night for the Zebras.

Sandringham has endured a forgettable night under lights at Whitten Oval on Saturday night, succumbing to a 98-point loss to a very strong Footscray.

With the Bulldogs fielding a side with seasoned AFL performers Travis Cloke, Jack Redpath and Tom Liberatore, the Zebras struggled to get going in a game that was their worst defeat in many years.

The Dogs had 15 scoring shots in the opening term and stunned the Zebras with a running blitz much like the tight knit performances of their namesake at AFL level.

After a spirited rev-up from VFL coach Lindsay Gilbee at quarter time, Sandringham matched the Bulldogs’ four goals in the second term but could only manage one major in the second half.

Six consecutive third quarter goals blew the game wide open in a stanza that saw the Zebras remain scoreless for the first time this season.

Sandringham eventually kicked their first major to start the final term thanks to Jack Lonie’s second, but it was too little too late with the Bulldogs kicking the final four goals of the quarter to run out convincing winners.

Stats that matter

Footscray absolutely dominated general play with inside 50s a clear advantage by the final siren - the Bulldogs with a + 40 differential (75-35).

The Dogs won the marking 110-80, highlighting their ability to get their hands on the ball often enough but the Zebras finished ahead on the tackle count 69-61.

Standout Zebras

St Kilda pair Jack Lonie and Nick O’Kearney were the notable shining lights for the Zebras on a poor night, finishing with 31 and 27 disposals respectively.

Lonie and O’Kearney battled to combine for 12 tackles between them while Luke Dunstan finished with 24 disposals.

The next challenge

Things don’t get much easier for the Zebras who remain on the road for a couple weeks before the bye and then a return to Trevor Barker Beach Oval on 24 June against Coburg.

Collingwood is the next opponent fresh off the bye at Victoria Park next Sunday before a Burbank Oval clash with Williamstown in what shape as season-defining results.

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