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VFL: Sandringham back in fight for finals

Justin Cooper  July 24, 2017 8:15 AM

Sandringham has put together back-to-back wins to return to the top eight, following a strong 27-point win over Geelong at Simonds Stadium on Saturday.

Backing up last week’s eight point upset over Port Melbourne, VFL coach Lindsay Gilbee has labelled the past fortnight as the most consistent football his Zebras have produced to date.

There were worrying signs early for Gilbee, with the Cats kicking the first two goals of the game and even jumped out to a 17-point buffer at the 21-minute mark of the opening term before Richard Atkins dribbled a late major before quarter time.

Experienced midfielder Myke Cook went off the ground with concussion and speedster Nathan Freeman injured his ankle in the first term, adding to what appeared to be a less than ideal start for the visiting Zebras.

Sandringham rallied at the first break and came out firing, getting the better of the home side with a five goal second term before a relatively even second half where the Zebras kicked nine goals to the Cats’ eight.

The Zebras never looked like surrendering the lead late in the game, despite the home side challenging in the second half.

Injury Watch

Midfielders Myke Cook (concussion) and Nathan Freeman (ankle) suffered injuries early in the game, with both appearing stable but will be monitored during the week before being considered for selection against the Box Hill Hawks on Sunday.

Standout Zebras

Just one week after his AFL debut, first-year forward Josh Battle shone in the win over Geelong - finishing with four goals, 19 disposals and four marks in a standout performance inside 50.

Midfielder David Armitage got through his first game of football since April after groin surgery to finish with 22 disposals and three tackles in three quarters, which would please St Kilda coach Alan Richardson.

Maverick Weller also impressed in his second VFL game, playing a key role to finish with 26 disposals and two goals while Irishman Ray Connellan excited with three goals from six shots.

Ruckman Tom Hickey was dominant in the centre square to finish with 35 hitouts, 28 disposals, seven marks and a goal to his name, putting pressure on Billy Longer in the AFL team.

The next challenge

Sandringham makes a welcome return to Trevor Barker Oval next Sunday when they clash with the second-placed Box Hill Hawks in what will be the Zebras’ biggest test to date looking for their third win in a row.