EAGLEHAWK booted seven first quarter goals while restricting Kangaroo Flat to one to set up an eventual 77-point victory at Bendigo Mazda Oval on Saturday. Inspired by dynamic full-forward Matt ‘G-Train’ Gretgrix who speared home 11 goals straight – including four in the opening term – the Hawks were in supreme control match-long.
Poor starts and scratchy periods have been an ongoing season problem for the Flat, facts acknowledged by Roos’ coach Jason Stevens. “This time it was a seven-minute burst at the tail-end of that first quarter. We were just two goals down with seven minutes to play and then all of a sudden we were six goals down at quarter-time,” he said. Stevens said it had been a feature of Kangaroo Flat games that just about every round the team spiralled into a patch of 10 minutes or so where the players lost focus and had majors kicked against them very easily.
After 100-gamer Glen Daly marked and goaled right on the quarter-time siren, the Hawks added only two second quarter goals to the Roos’ three. Yet the half-time buffer of 33 points was significant. Gretgrix speared home his fifth goal of the day from the bowling green flank at the Station Street end. Then two long shots from Cameron Rinaldi and Sam Kennedy kept the Roos mathematically within reach. A 50m penalty to ruckman Nick Lang with 10 seconds left on the clock resulted in a third second stanza major to the Roos. It only served to fire up the Hawks. They exploded away in the third quarter adding 6.6 to 1.1.
Gretgrix was unstoppable, marking over Tim Brooks relentlessly and nursing home three goals. For his fourth major of the term the G-Train hauled in a one-handed mark, with the ball clutched to his ribs as he tumbled to the turf, and calmly went back to drill the goal. Brenton Conforti was also busy, nailing a mid-term major while Damien Wust floated home the Two Blues’ 15th major as the three-quarter time siren sounded. In the last term, Gretgrix showed off his ground skills as he gathered a loose ball then ducked, dived and swerved before landing his 10th major. Rinaldi gave the Roo’s score a semblance of respectability when he steered home two last term goals before Eaglehawk’s Ryan Wellington nailed a ripper set shot from outside the 50m arc on the timekeepers’ box flank.
Eaglehawk coach Luke Monaghan said with Gretgrix marking as well and as consistently as he did all afternoon and kicking so straight the side had a terrific target up forward. “And we wanted to come out and start well, plus we knew Kangaroo Flat hadn’t been starting too strongly of late. So I thought our boys did really well in that first quarter in picking out the right targets,” he said.
Eaglehawk 7.3 9.7 15.13 19.14 (128)
Kangaroo Flat 1.2 4.4 5.5 7.9 (51).
Goals – Eaglehawk: Matt Gretgrix 11, Jarrod Findlay 2, Damien Wust, Brodie Collins, Glenn Daly, Brenton Conforti, Hayden Collins, Ryan Wellington. Kangaroo Flat: Cameron Rinaldi 3, Corey Greer, Simon Davies, Nick Lang, Sam Kennedy. Best – Eaglehawk: Matt Gretgrix (best on ground), Glenn Daly, Brenton Conforti, Ben McPhee, Josh Ketterer, Cameron Milward, Jarrod Findlay. Kangaroo Flat: Nick Lang, Trent McInnes, Corey Greer, Mitch Hough, Ash Benbow.
KYNETON climbed back into the BFNL Top Five following a percentage-bolstering 63-point win over South Bendigo at the Kyneton Showgrounds. Although boom recruit James Meiklejohn booted just the one goal and spent most of the day up forward and not in the ruck, the Tigers had livewire small forward Ben Weightman on fire. He landed eight of the Tigers’ total of 19 goals. Meiklejohn joined Kyneton after captaining Port Adelaide in the SANFL. He’d also played a dozen AFL games with the Sydney Swans in the early 2000s.
The Bloods blew their chances away early on, registering 2.7 with the use of the breeze in the first term. In a big milestone match at the QEO, Maryborough’s Cameron Skinner became the first Magpie to reach 300 senior games. Now 39, the modest Skinner said he’d been lucky to stay “reasonably fit” over his long career. “It’s not like I’m a great player or anything,” he told the Bendigo Advertiser. “I’d probably describe myself as someone who has been able to stay reasonably fit, play a role for the team and be half-decent at most things without being outstanding at any of them. “I’m probably above average at most things – not the longest kick but reasonably reliable – and that’s what has got me across the line,” Skinner added. He played in Maryborough’s premiership teams in 1998 and 1999 after starting his senior career back in Round 1, 1996.
The Magpies defeated South Bendigo by 45 points that day. Skinner booted six goals the next round in ’96 as Maryborough belted Eaglehawk by 120 points. And in a rare blowout in Saturday’s Battle of the Bulldogs at MyJet Oval Golden Square belted old rivals Gisborne by 80 points. Since Gisborne entered the BFNL back in season 2000, the Graveyard Dogs and the Square have played in many cliffhangers – and even one draw in 2012 – in those 15 seasons since.
Earlier this season there were just nine points between the sides, in Square’s favour, at Gisborne’s Gardiner Reserve. Round 13 scores: Kyneton 19.12 (126) def. South Bendigo 8.15 (63); Golden Square 19.14 (128) def. Gisborne 7.6 (48); Sandhurst 27.22 (184) def. Maryborough 5.4 (34) and Strath. Storm 17.21 (123) def. Castlemaine 6.7 (43). Top Five: Strath. Storm 52, Sandhurst 44, Golden Square 40, Eaglehawk 36, Kyneton 24.