The New Holland State Country team made a long-awaited return to interstate competition last weekend, going down to South Australia at the Adelaide Oval.
The West Australians, featuring several debutants, were shooting for back-to-back wins against the Croweaters for the first time, having claimed victory in 2019 at Optus Stadium before covid limitations produced a two-year hiatus.
The Black Swans suffered a 27-point defeat, due in part to the side’s sluggish start to the match.
The West Australians scored just one goal in the opening half, conceding a 36-point deficit at the main break.
SA forward Ben Edwards caused WA’s defence early problems, booting three of his four goals in the opening quarter.
WA coach Kane Benson admits his side gave up too big a lead away from home.
“After a slow start, the whole team worked its way back into the match.
In my mind, the slow start probably cost us the game as we had all the play in our front half for the first 10 minutes but didn’t get any reward on the scoreboard.
We finished the match well, and overall, I was extremely proud that the group never gave up,” Benson said.
WA booted four goals to one in the final term as part of a dominant second half, with the Black Swans finishing with six individual goalkickers.
Benson sung the praises of several players who were strong contributors, including Daniel Acres from Kalannie FC in the Central Wheatbelt, who was named WA’s Best on Ground.
“Daniel was terrific and deserved to be recognised for his outstanding performance.
Jake Nuich, Cam Symonds, Justin Joyce, Fraser House and Callum Garcia were also prominent and can be proud of their efforts,” he said.
As is often the case with State Country matches, the players had little time to build chemistry before taking on the South Australians.
“As a group which was only able to train once we arrived in Adelaide for 45 minutes, I thought they worked very well together.
The synergy between the players improved as the game went on and the boys are keen to play together again if the opportunity arises,” Benson said.
Having showcased country football as a curtain raiser to last weekend’s game between Adelaide and Carlton, plans have begun for South Australia to head west in 2023.
“We’ll sit down, review the match and see if we can get players together in the off-season and keep the enthusiasm going for next year,” Benson said.
SA Country 3.1 7.3 9.4 10.8 (68)
WA Country 0.1 1.3 2.5 6.5 (41)
WA Goalkickers: Zac Trigwell, Daniel Acres, Lewis Davis, Matthew Palfrey, Sam Lewis, Jake Nuich