KANGAROO Flat made it a 2-0 start to the Bendigo Football League 2014 season on the back of a second, consecutive third term burst but faded badly as Castlemaine challenged in Saturday’s last quarter at the Camp Reserve.
Although it’s the best start to a season for the Roos since 2001, coach Jason Stephens did not allow his victorious players to sing the club song after their 16.15 (111) to 11.9 (75) win.
Instead he got them to nominate where they’d fallen down as the Magpies banged home 5.7 in the concluding 30 minutes.
He conceded his players had been in great touch, adding 7.2 in the third stanza, while holding Castlemaine scoreless.
But he told his team fizzling out in the final term – with just a solitary major to on-baller Corey Greer, and that not until the concluding 30 seconds – would be fatal against the top four clubs.
With 200 cm follower Nick Lang in complete control in the ruck, plus he booted the first goal of the day, the Flat scooted out to a 17-point quarter-time lead.
The Magpies battled back in the second term with spearhead Tallin Wright bagging two of his three goals. At the 17-minute mark scores were level on 25 points apiece.
Jarryd Graham and David Stephens controlled the half-back rebounding while veteran midfielder James O’Brien was accurate with his short passes.
Roo forward Cameron Rinaldi broke the deadlock with his second and third of four majors for the afternoon, yet at the long break just 17 points separated the sides.
Then as they’d done against Maryborough a week earlier, Kangaroo Flat bombarded the goals in the third term.
They added seven majors at the pavilion end without conceding a single behind to the Magpies. Braydan Knox nailed one of his only two majors for the day with a long shot from the pressbox flank.
Corbin Fleming and Rinaldi chimed in as well as the Roo defence led by co-captain Tim Brooks and Dylan Clohesy shut down the Magpie attack. The Magpies, who had looked cooked at the last change, then went on the rampage in the final term. Nick Oliver and John Watson finished off forward moves as the Flat went missing. Watson was busy across half-forward all match while Adam Robinson at centre half-back gave plenty of drive along with Graham and Stephens. Jackson Hood, moved to full-back by quarter-time, held dangerous Flat spearhead Braydan Knox to two goals. Knox had banged home seven in Round 1.
Corey Greer, who will have his old mate Brendan Fevola in the green and white on Good Friday evening, was the standout small midfielder on the park. Simon Davies and Billy White gave Greer plenty of support around the stoppages. Their Flat teammate Lang was unstoppable at the ball-ups and boundary throw-ins. With a short, six-day turnaround Lang was rested for the final 15 minutes of Saturday’s match.
Stevens said it was essential for his players to stop playing in patches and concentrate on solid, four-quarter football.
“Our best footy is equal to the best sides going around. The problem is our worst footy is pretty ordinary and to their credit Castlemaine is always extremely competitive. At home they’re always very hard to beat.”
Kangaroo Flat 3.6 8.7 15.9 16.15 (111)
Castlemaine 1.1 6.2 6.2 11.9 (75)
Goals – Kangaroo Flat: Cameron Rinaldi 4, Tom Dargaville 2, Simon Davies 2, Braydan Knox 2, Cohen Kekich 2, Corey Greer, Nick Lang, Bryce Fletcher, Corbin Fleming. Castlemaine: Tallin Wright 3, Nick Oliver 2, Jay Millward, Kamen Ogilvie, John Watson, Brian Mustafa, K. Huntly and Chris McKnight.
Best – Kangaroo Flat: Nick Lang (best afield), Corey Greer, Simon Davies, Matt Tregenza, Cameron Rinaldi, Billy White, Dylan Clohesy. Castlemaine: Jarryd Graham, David Stephens, Adam Robinson, Brian Mustafa, John Watson, James O’Brien, Jackson Hood.
*WITH Brendan Fevola the drawcard, the Roos take on five-time premier Golden Square under lights at Dower Park on Good Friday evening.
Former Ovens and Murray player Greer has had a lot to do with luring Fev to the Flat for the big one-off outing.