TWO BLUES REACH THREE WINS AT HALFWAY MARK OF SEASON
June 19, 2012By Richard Jones
Bendigo Football League....
EAGLEHAWK reached the halfway mark of the 2012 BFNL season with three wins after registering a hard-fought 27-point victory over Castlemaine on Saturday.
On a perfectly manicured Canterbury Park surface both clubs were inaccurate in front of goals with Brodie Culpitt's and Shane Davis' three majors the top individual tallies for the day.
The pacy Magpies occasionally got ahead of themselves, with handballs to overlapping players missing the mark.
But they worked tirelessly and it took the grunt of seasoned players Davis, Luke Button, Glenn Daly and Tyson Findlay the entire afternoon for Eaglehawk to eventually shake the Pies off.
The first quarter ended as an even affair. Both clubs landed three goals after the Magpies had raced to a mid-term 3.3 to 1.1 advantage.
Sam Gale, Edward Coulthard and Mitchell Williams supplied the Maine majors before Eaglehawk struck back through Matthew Willox and Davis.
Defenders worked resolutely in both back halves. Castlemaine's Harmit Singh played his usual, cagey sweeper's role for the Maine while Button and Glenn Daly were standouts for the Hawks.
Singh always seems to have time to direct his passes from half-back. Few kicks miss their intended targets.
The home side grabbed an 18-point lead at the long break as Matt Gretgrix (who spent the opening six minutes of the game on the bench), Davis, Tim Hill and Brodie Collins supplied four Eaglehawk goals.
Davis read the flight of the ball superbly after Matt Gilmore and Linton Jacobs had worked the ball inside the 50m arc at the city end. Davis waited for the ball to hit the deck, then grubbered it through.
Hill, by contrast, took one of the marks-of-the-day on the grandstand flank and drove home a long set shot.
The Magpies kept in touch as creative midfielder Culpitt and key position player Jarryd Graham, who presented strongly all match, split the big sticks at the Simpson's Road end.
But then Castlemaine squandered a golden opportunity in the third term to at least get back on level pegging with the Hawks. After Culpitt had replied to a Tyson Findlay major – from a move started by youngster Nick Mee – the Magpies snagged four, successive behinds.
They locked the ball inside their forward 50 for almost five minutes, but minor scores to skipper James O'Brien and Rhys Jenkins were perhaps the most glaring misses.
Even so, Eaglehawk's lead was down to 14 points – 8.10 to 6.8 – before Jarrod Findlay rolled through a long-ish shot and then Tyson Findlay snapped a major around the corner.
The Hawks took their eventual winning margin, a 27-point buffer, into the final quarter.
As the late afternoon gloom descended on Canterbury Park, two last term goals apiece rounded out a spirited, if occasionally scrappy, encounter.
Castlemaine coach Len Watson was well aware of his side's inaccuracy. "I'm a maths teacher so I know if we'd kicked 15.9 instead of 9.15 I'd reckon we might have snuck over the line.
"We had a lot more of the footy today which I was pleased about. We do have some deficiencies, but we're trying to play the best contested football we can and try and own the footy."
Watson's Eaglehawk counterpart Luke Monaghan said it wasn't a pretty match but he and the club were delighted to take the four, premiership points.
"They threw everything at us. With Brad Stringer (ankle) off in the second quarter and Kevin Archbold replaced in the third quarter (ribs and back, taken by ambulance to hospital) a few of the boys really had to dig deep."
The Hawks' coach said regaining senior players had been vital as the club entered the last half of the season.
EAGLEHAWK 3.5 7.10 11.13 13.18 (96)
CASTLEMAINE 3.3 5.4 7.10 9.15 (69)
GOALS – Eaglehawk: Shane Davis 3, Tyson Findlay 2, Eamon Costello, Matt Willox, Brady Green, Tim Hill, Jarrod Findlay, Brodie Collins, Glenn Daly, Matt Gretgrix. Castlemaine: Brody Culpitt 3, Jarryd Graham, Ben Fritsch, Mitchell Williams, Angus Fortune, Edward Coulthard, Sam Gale.
BEST – Eaglehawk: Tyson Findlay (best on ground), Shane Davis, Glenn Daly, Riley McIvor, Luke Button, Nick Mee. Castlemaine: Harmit Singh, Jarryd Graham, Brody Culpitt, Zac Plant, Rhys Jenkins, James O'Brien.
5: Tyson Findlay (Eh)
4: Shane Davis (Eh)
3: Harmit Singh (Cm)
2: Glenn Daly (Eh)
1: Jarryd Graham (Cm)