At an Arctic QEO the Hurst runners in Lee Coghlan, Codie Price and Jake Twycross kept pumping the ball into attack ensuring the pressured Tiger defenders were on the back foot all afternoon. At the other end of the field and despite Mitchell Scholard’s match-high five majors for Kyneton, the Dragon defence was rock solid.
The Tigers were held to a meagre five goals by the last change and although winning the last quarter 6.4 to 5.2 it was Sandhurst who triumphed 19.13 (129) to 11.12 (78).
The highlight of the opening term was a great mark and goal by Dragons’ second-gamer Fergus Greene. The Tigers made a mini-charge early in the second term with Scholard and Alik Magin on target as they reduced the deficit to seven points. But Hurst coach Brett Fitzpatrick had switched big marking Matt Thornton into the front half and majors to him, Zac East, Ryan Haythorpe and Alexander Pollock restored the home side’s comfortable advantage.
With the QEO lights ablaze the Dragons wrapped up victory with a four-goal-to-one third quarter. Thornton launched the second half goalscoring when he stretched high in the scoreboard pocket in front of veteran Tiger Luke Beattie and nailed the Dragons’ tenth. Price landed the goal-of-the-day when he burst down the grandstand wing, burnt off three would-be chasers and hammered home Sandhurst’s 14th major deep in time-on.
The Tigers did manage to nail four of the first five last quarter goals. Joel Stevenson was in charge of the ruck battles, his clear centre square tap went straight to Rhys Magin and Magin’s long, rolling shot scored at the city end. Scholard and Alik Magin were also on target and when Stevenson’s huge pack mark was rewarded with Kyneton’s ninth goal, the Tigers had suddenly found some touch. Alex Pollock steadied the Dragons with a fine, running goal from the South Bendigo rooms pocket and the Dragons added a couple more to cement their 49-point win.
Sandhurst coach Brett Fitzpatrick said key forward Ryan Haythorpe had suffered a slight strain or twitch to his groin and he was rested for the entire second half. “We managed a couple of times to come back quickly when they pressured us with Pollock, Wharton and Parry able to convert quite well in that last term.” Fitzpatrick said Sandhurst’s really big test would come in Round 12 when they travelled to Flight Centre Park to take on the undefeated Strathfieldsaye Storm. Tigers’ coach Mark Adamson said his charges had improved exponentially throughout the season but conceded the QEO loss – and Castlemaine’s unexpected two-point win over Kangaroo Flat – had thrown Kyneton’s finals chances into limbo.
The Maine Magpies are now sixth on the BFL ladder on four wins, seven losses and percentage ahead of Gisborne (seventh) and Kyneton eighth. The Dogs and Tigers are also on four wins, seven losses. “We have improved defensively from the time Sandhurst destroyed us in the first round. We’re now averaging around 70 to 80 tackles so our pressure has improved and we didn’t let Sandhurst use the ball with time and space as they’re accustomed to,” Adamson said.. Adamson said key signing – former Port Adelaide SANFL skipper James Meiklejohn – would likely join the Tigers within the next week or two.
Sandhurst 3.5 10.8 14.11 19.13 (127)
Kyneton 1.4 4.6 5.8 11.12 (78)
Goals – Sandhurst: Alexander Pollock 3, Joel Wharton 2, Matt Thornton 2, Zac East 2, Fergus Greene 2, Galen Munari 2, Lee Coghlan, Nick Stagg, Ryan Haythorpe, Adam Parry, Codie Price, Joshua Hann. Kyneton: Mitchell Scholard 5, Alik Magin 3, Joel Stevenson, Rhys Magin, Jake Hyland. Best – Sandhurst: Codie Price (best on ground), Lee Coghlan, Jake Twycross, Matt Thornton, Harry O’Meara, Nick Stagg. Kyneton: Rhys Magin, Mitchell Scholard, Jake Hyland, Alik Magin, Bryce Hinneberg.
Other scores: Castlemaine 12.7 (79) def. Kang. Flat 11.11 (77), Strath Storm 15.16 (106) def. Eaglehawk 12.8 (80), Gisborne 23.17 (155) def. Maryborough 8.7 (55) [former AFL player Brock McLean was listed for his second 2015 appearance for the Princes Park Pies, but injury prevented him from playing], Golden Square 22.17 (149) def. South Bendigo 2.1 (13) [the Bloods were goalless for three quarters, eventually landing a major in the final term].