GISBORNE and Strathfieldsaye were the winners in the first half of the Bendigo Football League’s split 10th round.
Uncharacteristically occupying a spot not far off the bottom of the seniors ladders early in the season, Gisborne has enjoyed an early winter resurgence with wins in their past two outings. In the only BFL Saturday match, the Gardiner Reserve Dogs outlasted a plucky Castlemaine to win a tight contest by seven points.
The Graveyard Dogs actually blew the match wide open with an eight-goal-to-two second quarter. They managed only two more majors for the remainder of play, but the margin was just too wide for the Magpies to bridge. At the last break Gisborne led 10.4 to 6.3. The Magpies launched attack after attack at their end in a thrilling last quarter but just could not forge to the lead. Shannon Greetham who played a valuable tagging role on Maine dangerman Justin Dorward was voted the Dogs’ best with ruckman Tom Waters and swingman Andre Headberry also valuable contributors. Big Jimmy O’Brien was in Castlemaine’s best.
Then in the Sunday top-of-the-table clash between Strathfieldsaye and Golden Square on the wide expanses of Strath’s Flight Centre Park it was the Storm which was able to retain their unbeaten record. The 42-point loss was just the second for the Square Bulldogs in season 2015. The accurate Dogs led their big clash by two points at the first change, registering four, straight majors from four shots. And they were still within range at the main break with Strathfieldsaye ahead by just six points: 5.7 to 4.7. But then the Storm started to fire with elusive flanker Tommy Dowd difficult for the Dogs to counter as he ranged up and down the scoreboard flank. And although Dale Young kept Sam Mildren goalless, Storm’s other key forward Matthew Ferguson was the focal point with 5.2 for the day. Stephen Milne booted three majors for the afternoon despite the close attention from Square’s tough, uncompromising back pocket player Clayton Anderson. In the Bulldogs’ front half, Ryan Herring (3 goals) and Corey Jones were prominent although Jones was terribly inaccurate. He finished with 2.3 on the day with a couple of shots missing the entire target area altogether.
Final scores: Gisborne 12.13 (85) def. Castlemaine 11.12 (78) and Strathfieldsaye 15.17 (107) def. Golden Square 9.11 (65).
Next Saturday, completion of Round 10: Kangaroo Flat v Maryborough, Kyneton v Eaglehawk and South Bendigo v Sandhurst. The Hurst could leapfrog Square and snatch second spot if they down traditional rivals, the Bloods. The Dragons have a healthier percentage than Golden Square and a victory would leave both clubs on 8 wins, 2 losses (32 premiership points) with percentage the difference between outright second and third on the BFL ladder.