Bendigo Football League…
STRATHFIELDSAYE outlasted Kangaroo Flat to win a dour defensive struggle in slippery conditions on Saturday.
The clash of two top three BFNL sides at Bendigo Mazda Oval was dominated by the backlines with Storm co-coach Bryce Curnow and Roo key defender Hunter Lloyd outstanding.
Barely a kick separated the teams for three quarters before Strathfieldsaye broke the game open with four last term majors.
Storm’s under-18 skipper Matthew Harvey slotted his second goal of the day to get the visitors started as they eventually surged home: 8.7 (55) to Flat’s 5.9 (39).
There weren’t many first half highlights. The forwards were hardly sighted as the rival midfielders and backmen turned back most attacking thrusts.
Just five goals in total were on the board by the long break with the Storm ahead by a single kick: 3.3 to 2.3.
Curnow consistently outmarked Cam Rinaldi and Rhys Healey while in the Flat back half Lloyd was on top of anyone he was matched up on – wayward kicking Tom Bartholomew included.
Not much changed in the third term. One goal apiece – to Rinaldi after he received an in-the-back free and to Storm’s Riley Hogan at the Station Street end – underlined how difficult goals were to come by.
Despite this, the midfielders worked overtime to kick-start their sides.
Lance Oswald, Jarryd Wiegard and Mitch Hough continually tried to galvanise the Roos. Jake Moorhead, Kellan Smith and Kallen Geary played the same role for the Storm.
Still, for the third quarter in a row goals were at a premium: one apiece.
Then the gates were unshackled as the last term opened. After stuttering through the first three quarters the Storm slotted goals through Harvey and Trent Donnan.
In reply Nathan Newlan capped off one of Flat’s best moves of the day finishing a splitting charge with a 40m running major.
Newlan’s goal reduced the margin to 11 points: 4.8 to 6.7.
Strathfieldsaye iced the four premiership points with a pair of late majors to Sam Heavyside and Jordan Wilson to consolidate Storm’s second spot on the senior ladder.
Strathfieldsaye co-coach Curnow said the game had been a tight, pressure contest and it was great that it was his side which had finally broken out.
“Those are the sorts of games which are really pleasing to win especially when we lost two ‘talls’ in Michael Pilcher and Ash Trollop to injury, Thursday night,” he said.
“But it was probably an ideal day, because it was so wet, to have a couple of ‘talls’ out of the side.”
Curnow said he’d been playing in attack the past few weeks. “But for me to go down back was a move we decided on early in the week and I believe it paid off in the end,” he added.
Roos’ coach Jason Stevens was bitterly disappointed a winnable game against a top-flight opponent had slipped away.
“It was a competitive game, it was a scrap, and even though we were competitive around the ball our lack of forward entries cost us,” he said.
“The way we entered into our 50m arc virtually all day was terrible. We missed heaps of opportunities because of that,” Stevens said.
Strathfieldsaye 1.2 3.3 4.6 8.7 (55)
Kangaroo Flat 1.1 2.2 3.7 5.9 (39)
Goals – Storm: Matthew Harvey 2, Sam Heavyside, Shannon Geary, Jordan Wilson, Trent Donnan, Tom Dowd, Riley Hogan. Kangaroo Flat: Cameron Rinaldi 2, Corey Greer 2, Nathan Newlan.
Best – Storm: Bryce Curnow (best afield), Sam Simmons, Jake Moorhead, Kallen Geary, Kellan Smith, Sam Heavyside, Harry Conway. Roos: Hunter Lloyd, Jarryd Wiegard, Jack Bowyer, Mitchell Hough, Lance Oswald, Ross Turner.
CASTLEMAINE remained in contention for a finals berth and snapped a three-game losing streak with an emphatic 27-point win over South Bendigo.
The match, played at the Bloods’ new preferred home deck at Harry Trott Oval in suburban Kennington, was always in the Magpies’ grasp.
They held the Bloods goalless in the opening term and had dominant midfielders in Tom Horne, Jarryd Graham and Justin Dorward.
Tallan Wright booted three Maine goals. Skipper Aaron Connaughton was easily South’s best.
SANDHURST slotted eight second quarter goals to nil to close out an almost 10-goal drubbing of Eaglehawk.
For the second successive week the Hawks managed just five goals for the day.
Joel Wharton was again a dominant goalkicking midfielder for the Dragons while Brenton Conforti showed why he’s the ‘general’ of the Hawks backline and is in the Victorian Country training squad.
GOLDEN SQUARE had to re-group late in the third term after Kyneton unleashed a devastating goal rush.
The Bulldogs battled back to reach three-quarter time 22 points ahead. Key forwards Ryan Herring, in his best game for the year, and Dylan Johnstone landed nine goals between them.
Midfielder Adam ‘Skinny’ Baird was good for the Dogs while Rhys Magin and Max O’Sullivan were among the Tigers’ best.
GISBORNE players got to sing the club song for the first time in 2016 following a 48-point win over cellar dwellers Maryborough.
The Magpies virtually kicked themselves out of the game notching just 1.7 in the opening stanza.
Jarrad Lynch (5 goals) and Shannon Greetham (12 tackles) were in the Graveyard Dogs’ best.
Final scores around the grounds: Castlemaine 11.14 (80) def. South Bendigo 7.11 (53), Sandhurst 14.13 (97) def. Eaglehawk 5.8 (38), Gisborne 13.23 (101) def. Maryborough 7.11 (53) and Golden Square 16.12 (108) def. Kyneton 8.10 (58).
Top Five: Golden Square 7 wins 0 losses, Strathfieldsaye 6-1, Sandhurst 5-2, Kangaroo Flat 5-2, Kyneton 4-3.
Round 8, Saturday: Kyneton vs. Eaglehawk, Castlemaine vs. Gisborne, Maryborough vs. Kangaroo Flat, Golden Square vs. Sandhurst. Queen’s birthday holiday Monday: South Bendigo vs. Strathfieldsaye.
THERE were a couple of noteworthy highlights, or lowlights if you will, in the district leagues.
Maldon failed to score a single behind in the Maryborough Castlemaine DFL against Carisbrook. Carisbrook 36.24 (240) def. Maldon 0.0 (0).
Not even a rushed behind to the Dons!
And in the Loddon Valley Calivil United started the final quarter of the game against Marong with 19 men on the field.
The Demons booted a goal while the 19th man, Glen Scholtes, was out on the park. The Panthers called for a head count which revealed Calivil had an extra player.
Under AFL Victoria rules an investigation looks certain (as early as Monday night), but Marong coach Damien Lock said his side, who he described as “putrid” on the day, didn’t deserve any premiership points if that was the outcome.
Calivil ended the day big winners: 15.13 (103) to Marong’s 5.9 (39).