The Warriors enter week 3 with confidence after knocking off the back-to-back champion Lions but on the other side of the field they faced a Pakenham Silverback outfit fresh from a 52-20 victory over the South Eastern Predators. The early morning trip to Geelong can usually work against the travelling team however in this case the Silverbacks were travelling almost the same distance in what was going to be a great battle.
The Warriors started like they have recently, very hot! They return the opening Kick off 90 yards to set up a nice Lachie Woolford touchdown thanks to a nicely thrown pass from QB Nick Whitehead, and just like that the Warriors lead 6-0.
Not only did the Warriors Offense & Special Teams come out firing, the Warriors Defense came out just as hot shutting down the Silverback with a very quick 3-and-Out with Jono Keusgen sacking the opposing quarterback in two of those downs. On the Silverback punt it was Benjamin McGaw back to his usual tricks setting the Warriors up with great field position with an excellent punt return which saw the Warriors able to quickly punch in another score and extend the lead to 14-0 still early in the first quarter.
The Warriors Defense came out hunting once again and after trying to punish the Silverbacks Offense were left exposed when a receiver broker free for a quick catch and run for a 90 yard touchdown. Just like that the Warriors are only 14-6 up after dominating early and needing to respond to the Silverbacks after their quick response and they did exactly that running in another touchdown to finish the first quarter with a 20-6 lead.
The game settles down in the second quarter and the Silverbacks start to gain some momentum thanks to the play of their athletic QB. He is able to scramble around and find holes both on the ground and in the air to open receivers. They eventually score on a pass to bring the score line back to 20-14 and after forcing the Warriors Offense to turn the ball over take the lead prior to the half time break 22-20.
The Warriors were without their Head Coach Callum Marini who was not able to make the game however the team were in great hands thanks to his assistants Matt Sires, Andy Sher & Matt Morgan. The Warriors were able to regroup at the break, make some changes and just like they did in the first quarter, came out firing.
The Warriors Defense were led by Dmitri Maksoutov and Jono Keusgen all day and they stepped up in the second half to keep the Silverbacks out of the Endzone. The Warriors Offense were led by QB Nick Whitehead all day who moved the chains all day whilst also protecting the ball, Nick would earn overall game MVP for his performance. The Warriors were eventual winners 34-22.
The Warriors were seen to have some standout performances from Vish Sivakumar who made some clutch catches throughout the game, Benjamin McGaw and Jackson Crook brought their Senior experience to the game making big plays the whole game while Henry Malouf enjoyed a standout game protecting Whitehead whilst also creating holes running over defensive linemen.
A special mention also to Jed Melican who was able to provide great coverage all day whilst also grabbing a interception return for a touchdown which was brought back due to a questionable block in the back call. Running Back Brian Huynh also requires a special mention with his ball security and the reliable running all day.
Overall a fantastic effort by all players and coaches in getting this hard fought victory.
Week 4 will see the Warriors head to Pakenham on Sunday 13th March to take on the Croydon Rangers who are coming off a thumping thanks to the Melbourne Uni Lions. Kick off is 3:00PM – Get there and get behind the Warriors!