Seagulls spread wings in VFL

Williamstown's recruits are only just starting to hit their straps after punishing Richmond by 70 points in their second win of the season at Burbank Oval on Saturday.

New coach Andy Collins said the Seagulls, widely criticised for their aggressive poaching of other clubs' stars, had a long-term strategy for success. The former Hawthorn premiership player defended the way his new stand-alone club went about its recruiting, suggesting it was about targeting specific players for their positions.

The Seagulls were embroiled in off-field blues with the Northern Blues over their poaching of Adam Marcon and Kane Lambert, while Scott Clouston left a contracted position at Werribee to join arch-rival Williamstown.

''With no disrespect, the beauty of us and Port Melbourne and Frankston and Bendigo and other clubs is that we can offer these kids their prime position to be showcased. Rather than a Lambert and a Marcon being shunted out to wings and forward flanks, I'll play them in [the] midfield,'' Collins said.

''A lot of the players I recruited in [Peter] Faulks, [Ryan] Ferguson and Clouston are all in my leadership group and they're all coaches, all assisting me in regards to coaching.''

Skipper Ben Jolley, who starred again on Saturday against the Tigers, is the oldest of the pack at 27, showing the youthful approach.

Ruckman Nick Meese, who was another Northern Blues player who crossed to the Seagulls in the off-season, was best on ground, while Mitch Banner, Willie Wheeler and David Fahey also excelled.

After the Seagulls' slow start jelling as a new list, Collins can already see a vast improvement. Along with Port Melbourne and Geelong, they are tipped to be Box Hill's biggest flag challengers.

Collingwood bounced back from its ''uncharacteristic loss'' to Port Melbourne with an impressive 44-point win over Coburg at Victoria Park on Saturday.

Pies VFL coach Dale Tapping said it was important for his team to start well against the Lions after addressing a poor start last week. ''We addressed it and moved on and we saw better elements of our game today,'' he said.

Port Melbourne withstood a late charge from the Werribee Tigers to win by 13 points at North Port Oval. Majak Daw kicked five goals for Werribee, while Julian Rowe kicked four for the Borough.

Sandringham continued its impressive start to the season with a 35-point win over North Ballarat.

On Friday, Essendon defeated Bendigo by 28 points.

Sunday: Footscray v Northern Blues, 12pm at Whitten Oval; Frankston v Casey Scorpions, 2pm at Frankston.

The story Seagulls spread wings in VFL first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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