Weeks has day out with seven
June 25, 2012By Richard Jones
Bendigo Football League...
GOLDEN Square's ace forward Grant Weeks booted four of his seven goals in Saturday's last quarter to spearhead his club to a 32-point win over a spirited Eaglehawk.
Weeks finally broke the shackles imposed early by the Hawks' sterling full-back Tim Hill to lead the Bulldogs to victory.
But the final margin doesn't do justice to Eaglehawk's fighting spirit.
The Hawks had left a lacklustre first half behind them as they bounced out in the third term to boot six, unanswered goals and slash a 50-point deficit to just 14 at the last change.
Matt Gilmore booted two of his three goals during the home team's revival with Brad Stringer and Tim Nicholson key players in Eaglehawk's surge.
With 100-gamer Matt Gretgrix also slotting a major, passing accurately to Stringer for another and then dishing off a pinpoint handball to Glenn Daly for a third the Canterbury Park faithful were up and roaring.
Nonetheless, the Bulldogs had built up a substantial lead in the first half. Hamish Morcom and Adam Baird provided the spark for the Bulldogs with Callum Sharp on target for two first term majors after Dale Lowry had supplied the first of the day from a free kick.
Trailing five goals to one at quarter-time, the Hawks needed a lift. But only Gretgrix was able to find the big sticks as Lowry and the returning Jack Geary, back home from the WAFL, added two goals for the Dogs.
Clayton Anderson and Travis Baird consistently cleaned up in the back half for the Square in a forgettable first half.
All that changed as the teams ran back onto Canterbury Park for the third term. After Weeks had added two majors from Morcom passes and Geary had capitalised on an across-the-ground pass from Nathan Manuel, the tide turned.
Suddenly, Eaglehawk was able to keep the ball inside its attacking 50m arc for long periods.
Nicholson had slightly the better of Matt Compston in the ruck battles while Tyson Findlay, skipper Josh Bowe and Brodie Collins dominated around the stoppages.
The ball hardly passed centrefield as the third term unwound. Gilmore's marking was a feature, both overhead and as he dived to take a Stringer pass.
At the 27-minute mark Eaglehawk had reduced a 50-point margin to just 26. When Daly's snap got home and then Nicholson collected a terrible clearing kick to land Eaglehawk's sixth in a row, it was game on at Canterbury Park.
Square coach Mark Lloyd moved Travis Baird onto Gretgrix with Dale Young on Gilmore for the start of the last term.
The Bulldogs needed someone to stop the slide. Enter Grant Weeks, who collected a low ball and then steered home his fourth goal, four minutes in.
Still, the Hqwks weren't done. Matt Willox drove long from the outer wing and Gilmore took a contested mark in a pack.
When he goaled and then Stringer converted from a looping Gretgrix handball the margin was just nine points: 11.6 to 12.9.
The Bulldogs' Oliver Collins responded with a high floater to establish a Square 15-point buffer before Tyson Findlay passed to an unmarked Gretgrix for Eaglehawk's 12th major.
Again, the margin was back to nine points. Weeks sealed victory with two set shots, and a goal square grubber off-the-ground, as he took his personal tally to seven goals.
Considering the thumpings Eaglehawk has endured at Square's hands in recent seasons, including last September's massive grand final humiliation, home coach Luke Monaghan was upbeat.
"That second half is the best football we've played all year. Pegging back an eight-goal lead considering the quality of Golden Square was great. And then we twice got back within nine (points)," he said.
"It took so much energy to get back close to level and we just couldn't quite finish it off," Monaghan added.
Relieved Bulldog coach Mark Lloyd said he was happy to escape from the Borough on any occasion with the four points.
"But we did let them back into the game in that third quarter and we made it hard for ourselves. Then after they'd got back within a couple of kicks we were lucky enough to grind it out.
"To our guys' credit our good leaders stood up when they needed to so we could get the four points, after we'd taken our foot off the pedal and let them back," Lloyd said.
Weeks now has 77 goals for the year and is well on the way to snaring his third, consecutive 100 goals-plus season.
Final scores: Golden Square 17.11 (113) def. Eaglehawk 12.9 (81)
5: Grant Weeks (Golden Square)
4: Tim Nicholson (Eaglehawk)
3: Clayton Anderson (GS)
2: Matthew Willox (Eaglehawk)
1: Adam Baird (G Square)