CASTLEMAINE maintained its push for a 2016 top five position with a hard-won 30-point victory over Eaglehawk on Saturday.
Twice in a gripping last term at Canterbury Park the Hawks forged to the lead.
Each time the Magpies responded to snatch back their advantage and then wrapped up the four, premiership points with a burst of five unanswered goals, three of them to key forward Rhys Ford.
The side kicking to the Simpson’s Road end used the breeze to land vital majors but it was the Magpies who were the more efficient in their 13.15 (93) to 9.9 (63) victory.
The Hawks were slow to get going. They took until the 14-minute mark to land their first opening term major courtesy of a Damian Wust set shot.
Rhys Ford drilled the first of his five goals for the Maine from the half-forward line at the town end. When Jay Milward added another the Hawks’ lead was suddenly just a solitary point at quarter-time.
Two second stanza majors to straight kicking Tallan Wright and another to Jarryd Graham from a free 40m out handed the Maine a 20-point lead by half-time.
The Magpie defence, headed by Jackson Hood and David Stephens, completely shut down Eaglehawk’s attack.
And it took the Hawks until the 14-minute mark of the third term to land their third goal: to Koby Hommelhoff.
Then Wust with a great bouncing shot, Matt Gretgrix and Josh McKee – close to the three-quarter time siren – all goaled to slash the margin to three points: 6.11 to 6.8.
When Matt Filo found Shaun Knott at centre half-forward early in the final term Knott’s goal handed the Hawks a three-point lead.
The Magpies replied to edge ahead again before Matt Gretgrix landed his third goal of the day for the Hawks to snatch back an 8.8 (56) to 7.12 (54) lead.
That seemed to fire up the Magpies. They went on a five-goal rampage with Ford (3 majors) outstanding in the front half. Zac Hansford and Tom Horne – a top onballer all match – were also on target as the Magpies put the game beyond Eaglehawk’s reach.
Jarryd Graham marked in a forward pocket at the Simpson’s Road end to nail his second goal of the day and seal the Magpie victory.
They’re now 5 wins, 4 losses and poised just outside the Top Five.
Maine coach Shane Robertson said it was a credit to Eaglehawk how they fought back to get in front in the final quarter.
“We just had to get our heads back over the footy and concentrate hard again. Once our players did that and addressed that issue away we went,” he said.
“We believed we had a good fitness level overall. We’d struggled a little bit in our second halves early in the season and we’d also struggled with the way we moved the footy.
“So with improved fitness levels it was pleasing to finish off the way we did,” Robertson said.
It was another historic win for a country-based BFNL club. Castlemaine hadn’t beaten Eaglehawk at Canterbury Park since 2005 and it overturned the Hawks’ run of 16 victories in a row over the Pies.
Hard-running Maine midfielder Rhys Jenkins who was in the Magpies best three said after the match in his 104 senior game career with the Magpies Saturday’s win was his first ever at Canterbury Park.
Castlemaine 2.4 5.8 6.11 13.15 (93)
Eaglehawk 2.5 2.6 6.8 9.9 (63)
Goals – Castlemaine: Rhys Ford 5, Jarryd Graham 2, Jay Milward 2, Tallan Wright 2, Zac Hansford, Tom Horne. Eaglehawk: Matt Gretgrix 3, Damian Wust 2, Koby Hommelhoff, Shaun Knott, Matt Filo, Josh McKee.
Best – Castlemaine: Rhys Jenkins, Tom Horne, Justin Dorward, David Stephens, Kalan Huntly, Rhys Ford. Eaglehawk: Shaun Knott, Tim Hill, Glenn Daly, Brendan Tanner, Damian Wust.
GOLDEN Square booted an amazing 17 goals in the last quarter of the match at Maryborough’s Princes Park to record a massive 207-point victory.
Smarting after last week’s loss at home to Sandhurst, the Bulldogs obliterated the young Pies.
Ryan Herring booted an even dozen – 12 goals – and Dylan Johnstone six majors for the Wade Street Dogs.
Gisborne bounced back from a poor two-goal first half to sneak home by three points over South Bendigo.
The Gardiner Reserve Bulldogs nailed seven goals to the Bloods two in the last half to snatch a nail-biter.
Sandhurst emphasised the gulf between the leading three clubs and the rest of the top five contenders by downing fourth-placed Kangaroo Flat by 25 points.
Dragons small forward Mitch Dole booted four of the Hurst’s 12 majors. And coach Wayne Primmer said it was heartening “to win ugly” but his Dragons had to keep improving.
The Roos suffered a pre-game blow when full-forward Cameron Rinaldi was a late withdrawal.
Kyneton trailed Strathfieldsaye by nine points at half-time in Sunday’s match. Playing at the Storm’s huge Flight Centre Park the Tigers landed 11 scoring shots to 10 but were offline in the opening half.
The Storm then put the result beyond doubt with a nine-goal third quarter. Young gun Matt Harvey booted four of the home side’s third stanza majors.
Mitchell Scholard with three goals was Kyneton’s top scorer.
Final scores: Gisborne 9.7 (61) def. South Bendigo 8.10 (58), Golden Square 39.20 (257) def. Maryborough 7.5 (47) [it was 36.11 (227) to Maryborough’s 12-man reserves team 0.0 (0) in the Twos], Sandhurst 12.13 (85) def. Kang. Flat 8.12 (60) and on Sunday Strath Storm 16.12 (108) def. Kyneton 10.11 (71).
Top Five: Golden Square, Strath Storm, Sandhurst, Kangaroo Flat and Kyneton. Castlemaine lies just percentage behind the Tigers, in sixth spot. Both clubs are on 5 wins, 4 losses.
Round 10: Kang. Flat vs. E’hawk, South Bendigo vs. Kyneton (at Harry Trott Oval), Maryborough vs. Sandhurst, Golden Square vs. Gisborne and Strathfieldsaye vs. C’maine.