Bendigo Football League…
GOLDEN Square romped home to their sixth consecutive victory of the year on Saturday extending an unbeaten record over Eaglehawk to three complete seasons.
On their own deck at Canterbury Park the Hawks hardly troubled the scoreboard operators booting just five majors for the day.
By contrast key Bulldog forward Dylan Johnstone virtually outscored Eaglehawk on his own.
He nailed six goals, five of them in the first half, and took a turn in the ruck figuring from time to time in the Dogs’ defensive end clearing moves.
Co-captain Jack Geary was at his creative best for the Square setting up countless forward moves in the 16.13 (109) to 5.7 (37) whitewash.
The signs that a big win was coming were clear by quarter-time. Seven scoring shots to two, against the breeze, assisted the Square to a 20-point first change lead.
With Johnstone on fire in the front half – he nailed the match’s first three goals – the Square defenders also played their part.
Key backmen Brayden Dorrington and Dale Young, backed up by Chris Ryan and John Coe, shut down the Hawk attack.
Only Eaglehawk on-baller Ben McPhee was able to break the defensive screen. He finished the match with three goals as Young nullified Matt Gretgrix while co-captain Dorrington constantly created the overlap to start forward thrusts from half-back.
Four more goals in each of the second and third terms blew Square’s lead out to 51 points by the last change.
Watching Geary at work was a delight. He twisted and turned to avoid tackles and even when in the clutches of an Eaglehawk opponent was still able to fire out a crisp handpass.
And his disposal by foot was as clean as ever. In fact Square’s run and spread plus their pinpoint ball disposal was far superior to Eaglehawk’s.
Gretgrix finally got his one and only major of the day when he marked 35m out from the Simpson’s Road end, deep into time-on in the third term.
Then another four Square goals in the final quarter again shut Eaglehawk out. Johnstone nailed his sixth major with an around-the-body snap, very creative for a big man.
Hamish Morcom held onto a tumbling mark at the Simpson’s Road end and nursed home his second of the day. Travis Baird wrapped up the goal-scoring when he snapped an over-the-shoulder shot while off-balance.
Square coach Nick Carter said his players’ application and concentration, even when the game had clearly been won, was admirable.
“The players’ application right from the first ball-up was really good, allowing us to get a good start against the breeze in the first quarter.
“It’s all about a simple philosophy: get the footy first. As well we wanted to hold the opposition to one or two goals a quarter and we did that,” he said.
Eaglehawk hasn’t beaten Golden Square since round seven in 2013 when, with scores level, Gretgrix landed a point after the final siren.
And Dean Goodridge umpired his 1,000th game on Saturday partnering his old mate John Norton at Eaglehawk’s Canterbury Park.
Goodridge started in 1984 in the Eastern Suburban Churches League in Melbourne’s outer east, with one game at Springvale South remaining etched in his memory.
“The home coach knew how to get under my skin and used to give me a really hard time. Looking back, those were the times when you just wanted to walk off the ground, but with each game you finished you learned a bit more.
“So that’s what I’m trying to teach our younger members – the centrals. Get in good decision-making positions and review your games on the vision now available from each game on the BFNL website.”
Goodridge who teaches at the Years 7-10 Eaglehawk Secondary College is also the Bendigo Umpires Association director of coaching.
His scariest moment came when he was an 18-year-old central in charge of a game at Dandenong South.
“The home side was copping a flogging and midway through the last quarter someone called out: “We know your car number.
“The number plates are IQE-224 so don’t expect to have any tyres on it after the game.”
Goodridge didn’t bother with an after-match shower that Saturday. “The siren sounded, I grabbed my bag and car keys and high-tailed it straight out of there,” he recalled.
He had a much happier time of it on Saturday at Eaglehawk.
“Someone in the crowd told me I was overdue for the pension, but apart from one incident in the third quarter it was a free-flowing game and easy to umpire.”
The milestone-setter said he’d had some nice comments from officials of the two clubs and “people from the crowd wished me well, so that was greatly appreciated.”
Goodridge only missed out on a senior AFL umpiring career because of his inability to centre bounce the ball high enough.
He’d umpired a 1995 Ansett Cup match between Carlton and St. Kilda and a year earlier he’d blown the whistle at the 1994 AFL reserves grand final between North Melbourne and Footscray at the MCG.
“I was ranked number one outside of the actual AFL panel but one Labour Day weekend I got a call from the AFL umpiring coach telling me the height of my bouncing had ruled me out,” he said.
IN the other BFNL round six games, Kyneton scored an after-the-final-siren goal to sink Sandhurst by two points.
Bryce Hinneberg landed a 45m set shot to hand the Tigers their best win since their glory days of the late Nineties.
Players and supporters mobbed 19-year-old Hinneberg who nailed his only major of the 2016 season.
And it was Kyneton’s first win over the Dragons since 2008.
Earlier the Tigers had led by 31 points at the main break, thanks to a six-goal first-half haul from Mitch Scholard.
Then the Hurst battled back, thanks to skipper Blair Holmes and Nick Stagg through the midfield and a four-goal effort from Joel Wharton.
In fact Wharton’s fourth goal deep into the final quarter seemed to have sealed it for the Hurst before a free for a high tackle left Hinneberg lining up as the final siren sounded.
SOUTH Bendigo landed their biggest score for five seasons, belting Maryborough at Princes Park by 122 points.
Even though they banged home 27 majors Michael Tonkin was the Bloods’ leading goalkicker with four.
Kirk Looby nailed four of the Princes Park Pies’ eight goals.
STRATHFIELDSAYE catapulted into second spot on the ladder nailing four goals in each quarter to keep Gisborne winless and just one spot from the cellar.
Co-coach Bryce Curnow was delighted with the efforts of younger players Matt Harvey, Fergus Payne, Danny Jones and Jake Moorhead while for Gisborne Jake Conolan drilled four of the Dogs’ seven goals.
Final scores: Golden Square 16.13 (109) def. E’hawk 5.7 (37), Kyneton 14.10 (94) def. Sandhurst 13.14 (92), South Bendigo 27.14 (176) def. Maryborough 8.6 (54), Strathfieldsaye 16.15 (111) def. Gisborne 7.7 (49) and on Sunday Kangaroo Flat 17.8 (110) def. Castlemaine 8.17 (65).
Top Five: G. Square 6 wins, 0 losses; S’saye 5-1, Kang. Flat 5-1, Sandhurst 4-2, Kyneton 4-2.
Recap of this month’s AFL Victoria community championships, central Vic. leagues: Bendigo 17.8 (110) def. Gippsland 12.7 (79) at Warragul, Bellarine 21.25 (151) def. Heathcote District FL 10.11 (71) at Ocean Grove, Central Murray 11.11 (77) def. North Central 9.9 (63) at Swan Hill and Maryborough-Castlemaine DFL 16.13 (109) def. Horsham District 8.13 (61) at Princes Park, Maryborough.
Rankings for 2017: Bendigo FNL 10th, Heathcote DFL 21st, North Central 23rd, Maryborough-Castlemaine DFL 28th and Loddon Valley (which didn’t contest the 2016 competition) 33rd.