West Augusta continued their downward spiral, slipping to fourth on the Spencer Gulf Football League (SGL) ladder after a loss to PropRisdon Lions by 46 points.
After winning five of their first six games, the Hawks have done the opposite in their last six matches, losing five from six, as the Lions capitalised on the injury-ridden West side.
Some of the players who West would have liked to have on the park include Nic Collins, Jarryd Warren, Corie Singleton, Adam Nicol, Hayden Warren, Jordan Warren and Ricky Johnson, who were all missing for various reasons.
Saturday’s game saw dual premiership player Matthew Anesbury lead West through a commemorative banner and out onto the ground for his 200th SGL game, which is a great achievement for one of West’s best.
Adam Bentley was recalled after a week in the seconds, while Jason Dare-Ryan was back, much to the delight of the West players. Lions lost Jaymie Westley and Daniel Fulcher from their side that defeated Port last week.
Lions started dominantly and gained a 16-point lead at the first change after locking the ball inside their forward half for the majority of the quarter.
Jordan Fuller was proving too hot to handle for his opponent Michael Curley, while Shaun Edwards continued to find the ball on the half forward line.
Lions extended their lead up to 20 points by half time, but Ray Stapleton was making the most of the limited ball down in the West forward line and finished with six goals in a best on ground performance.
The second half was an inaccurate one for Lions, kicking six goals and 18 behinds and although it was enough to see them over the line, it could have been a much bigger win.
West really struggled without a big key forward to target. They weren’t helped with their poor entry inside 50, constantly blazing away and bombing the ball into attack, only to be chopped off.
Lions’ Tom Harmer was excellent in breaking up the Hawks’ attacks, taking plenty of marks inside his defensive 50.
Joe Packard had a great game in defence for West and was continuously tested with the Lions getting multiple inside 50s.
Opposition wingmen Jaiden Strawbridge and Chris Johnston were both impressive, but the experienced players for Lions really stood up, as Shaun Edwards and Jordan Fuller excelled in the 46-point victory.
The Lions have leapfrogged West into third position and will look to make a late surge for a top two finish.