KANGAROO Flat unleashed a nine-goal second half to snatch a narrow win over a fired-up and determined Castlemaine on Saturday night.
The Magpies took a well-earned 33-point lead into the half-time break at Bendigo Mazda Oval before a large, but subdued, Roos home crowd.
Only in the concluding two quarters did the Flat faithful find full voice.
Co-captains Nick Lang (10 marks in the final term) and Corey Greer (two goals on the night) led the way as Kangaroo Flat eased home to a nine-point win: 12.12 (84) to 11.9 (75).
Early on it was all Castlemaine. The speedy Pies nailed nine goals of their own in the first half with full-forward Mark Ramsey contributing five majors and centreman Justin Dorward and midfielders Kalan Huntly and Klai Jermyn too quick and elusive for their opponents.
Ramsey booted all four of the Maine’s opening term majors including the first at the 21-second mark from an opportunistic back-heeled shot.
Fortunately for the Roos, Brayden Knox was on target as he drilled two majors from set shots at the scoreboard end.
A five-goal second term set the Magpies on track to their big half-time lead.
Skipper Zach Hansford, Tom Robertson and Chris McKnight all drove home valuable majors with the Roos able to score just four behinds.
David Stephens and Tom Horne completely shut down the Flat forward line.
But then, responding to coach Jason Stevens’ fire and brimstone half-time address, the Roos added five goals to one in the third stanza.
Unsighted in the first half Cameron Rinaldi drilled a pair of much-needed set shot majors and the pacy Ryan McNish, who was the linkman across half-forward, added the first of his two for the evening.
Only James O’Brien was able to stem the tide for the Maine with a major from the time-keepers’ box flank.
The Roos finally hit the front at the 10-minute mark of the final quarter, thanks to goals from the lively Ross Turner and McNish.
It was just a two-point advantage – 10.9 to 10.7 – but from then on Lang and Greer steadied the Roos: Lang with his marking and Greer with his run.
Knox and Rinaldi iced the win for the Roos with pressure set shot majors with the Magpies’ only reply an after-the-siren goal from Ramsey. His sixth major served only to whittle down the final deficit from 15 points to nine.
Stevens agreed the match had been one of two, distinct halves.
“Castlemaine came here full of confidence and there’s no doubt they’ll challenge a lot of sides this season,” he said.
“I gave our blokes a little bit of a rev at half-time and they managed to play a really great third quarter.
“Our two co-captains in Lang and Greer really responded in those third and fourth quarters after Knox had been our only viable option up forward early.”
The Roo coach said fortunately Knox got more support in the concluding two terms from Rinaldi, McNish, Josh Keogh and Matt Giri to share the load in attack.
Kangaroo Flat 3.2 3.6 8.9 12.12 (84)
Castlemaine 4.1 9.3 10.6 11.9 (75)
Goals – Kangaroo Flat: Brayden Knox 4, Cameron Rinaldi 3, Ryan McNish 2, Corey Greer 2, Ross Turner. Castlemaie: Mark Ramsey 6, James O’Brien, Zach Hansford, Justin Dorward, Tom Robertson and Chris McKnight.
Best – Kangaroo Flat: Nick Lang (best afield), Corey Greer, Ryan McNish, Ryley Barrack, Mitch Holt, Brayden Knox, Billy White. Castlemaine: Justin Dorward, Tom Horne, David Stephens, Mark Ramsey, Kalan Huntly, James O’Brien.
AT the seldom used Harry Trott Oval in suburban Kennington, South Bendigo couldn’t notch a win at their new co-headquarters against BFNL powerhouse Golden Square.
The Bulldogs shed their atrocious inaccuracy early on to power home to a 40-point win: 15.18 (108) to 10.8 (68).
Big Ryan Herring landed his second consecutive haul of four goals for the Bulldogs.
At the Gardiner Reserve Gisborne put aside their shock opening round loss to annihilate a young and inexperienced Maryborough by 127 points: 25.22 (172) to 7.3 (45).
Gisborne Spearhead Matthew Knox must have been watching West Coasts’s Josh Kennedy the night before as he surpassed Kennedy’s double figure haul against Carlton to finish the game with 12 goals.
Knox leads the BFL goalkicking table on 15 majors.
At the Kyneton Showgrounds Kyneton couldn’t cope with 2014 runner-up Sandhurst and went down to the Dragons by more than 10 goals: 15.10 (100) to the Hurst’s 22.30 (162).
The Tigers’ score look reasonable on its own but they mustered just 25 scoring shots to Sandhurst’s massive 52: less than half of the Dragons’ formidable tally. Even so, Mitchell Scholard slotted nine majors for the Tigers.
In the Sunday game at Flight Centre Park, Strathfieldsaye welcomed back ex-St. Kilda goalsneak Stephen Milne as the 2014 premiers unfurled their premiership flag.
Before an adoring home crowd the Storm blew Eaglehawk away with a dominant first half as coach Darryl Wilson blooded a number of youngsters. The Storm won by 39 points: 16.16 (12) to 11.7 (73).
Milne (one goal) lasted only a quarter-and-a-half before coming off but the goalkicking duties were ably taken on by Joshua Martyn (3 majors) and gun recruit Matthew Ferguson (4).
For the second week in a row Sean Williams landed four goals for Eaglehawk.
Golden Square and Strathfieldsaye fill the top two spots on the BFNL ladder as the league’s only unbeaten clubs after two rounds.
They clash this Saturday at the Square’s MyJet Oval in the blockbuster match-of-the-round and a re-match of the 2013 grand final.