By Matt Fotia
The Monbulk Hawks continued their perfect start to the Division One season with a 51 point victory over the previously undefeated Pakenham Lions 14.15(99) to 7.6(48) on a picture perfect afternoon at the Monbulk Recreation Reserve.
Monbulk superstar Shane Williams kicked 10 goals to headline the afternoon as the Hawks won their first home match of the season with ease, enjoying the comforts of their newly resurfaced home in the much anticipated top of the table clash.
Williams booted four majors in the first term, playing as the Hawks deepest forward for the majority of the afternoon, his midfield time limited due to a knock he received in the victory over Emerald in Round Four.
Shane Williams of the Monbulk Senior Football Netball Club is the winner of our Coles Myer Player of the day off the back of his 10 Goals in the Hawks win over Pakenham! #AFLOEDIV1 pic.twitter.com/Kjk7piOPVG
— AFL OUTER EAST (@AFL_OE) May 25, 2019
Other than his lack of height, Williams has all the required attributes to play as a key forward – clean hands, an accurate kick, turn of speed, strong bodywork and most importantly footy smarts. On more than one occasion the diminutive dynamo took marks deep inside forward fifty without his feet leaving the ground, reading the flight of the ball better than those around him, having it fall in his lap as opponents and teammates alike ran under the ball.
Williams added just one goal in the second quarter as Pakenham edged its way back into the game off the efforts of half back Josh Tynan who shone well above the rest of his teammates, collecting numerous marks and disposals throughout the afternoon.
One of few Lions to to win his position.
The powerful Monbulk number two added three more goals to his tally during the third quarter as the beneficiary of some impressive forward pressure from the Hawks who rarely allowed Pakenham to launch their trademark attacks from defence throughout the match.
Playing a full 18 man zone the Hawks allowed Pakenham forwards to be left alone inside forward fifty, risking a cheap goal out the back to press up on the Lions defenders and usual ball carriers. Not used to being compressed and squeezed the Lions resorted to long up and under kicks down the line which more often than not were marked by the likes of McClelland, Veit, Werts and co.
The Hawks back six were undeniably impressive all afternoon.
With Pakenham unable to find their opponents from the turnover quick enough, it was the crafty Williams who benefited the most, always managing to find a pocket of space and more often than not also finding the goals. There was one occasion however where Williams uncharacteristically rushed his kick, missing the easiest of chances from the top of the goal square. Luckily for him it was his day, intercepting the Pakenham kick in to complete the underrated seven point play.
The longer the game went on, more of the attention began to turn towards Williams and whether he could reach double figures on the day with the result already sewn up. Kicking to the log cabin end, Williams found his ninth early in the last quarter.
Then as Monbulk’s pressure – which had been unrelenting all day – created yet another turnover in the middle of the ground, Shannon Brennan marked in the centre circles found Kris Fletcher on the wing who turned in board with too much ease and found Shaun McBride on the lead at true Centre Half Forward. McBride feigned to shoot for goal but delivered the ball in the direction of Williams who took a dubious mark on the third grab in the pocket.
If there was any doubt that Williams would kick truly, it was eradicated when the umpire penalised Pakenham’s Baker-Thomas and marched Williams to the goal line, where he happily booted the ball out on the street to complete his perfect ten – on a perfect day for the Hawks.