Bendigo Football League…
KEY Golden Square forward Dylan Johnstone almost outscored Kangaroo Fat on his own on Saturday as the Bulldogs stretched their amazing winning streak over the Roos.
Johnstone booted eight goals – 8.4 to be precise – as the Flat finished with a meagre 9.7 at MyJet Oval.
Nailing 13 second half goals to three the Dogs extended their extraordinary hoodoo over the Roos, a hoodoo which reaches right back to mid-season 2001.
The loss catapulted the Roos down to sixth spot on the ladder.
Square’s crushing 82-point victory underscored the massive gulf which exists between the BFNL’s top three clubs and the middle group with the Dogs cruising home 21.17 (143) to 9.7 (61).
The omens were there for everyone to see right from the first bounce.
The ball rocketed down to the Wade Street goals and from mid-air Johnstone soccered the ball through from waist height.
The match was 30 seconds old.
As they were able to do all match Square on-ballers Adam Baird, captain Jack Geary and Simon Rosa dominated the stoppages, pumping the ball forward continually.
Flat’s Sam Maddern doggedly tried to stick by Rosa’s side at every contest except for a brief period mid-match when he was off the field under the blood rule.
It took the Roos 13 minutes to land their first goal when Rhys Healey was on target but Clayton Anderson and Paul Symons replied for the Dogs.
The second term was the match’s most even. Both sides added five goals with a pair to Flat’s Rinaldi – the second after the half-time siren had sounded – slashing the gap to 15 points.
That was it as a contest. Johnstone added three third term goals and Anderson two as Rosa cleared the ball from centre ball-ups three times in a row.
He teamed up with Geary on the third occasion by handball across centrefield to land the ball with Anderson for a major.
Nick Lang’s marking prowess in defence was invaluable for the Flat as the Dogs attacked non-stop in the final term.
Still, Symons nailed his third goal from a Johnstone pass, the big forward slotted through three more and Riley Saunders – named as an emergency Thursday night but who played when Tom Toma (calf) was a late withdrawal – marked a kick off the ground and calmly drilled Square’s 21st major.
Coach Nick Carter said there had been a period late in the second quarter when his players’ concentration dropped a bit.
“But then we played out the second half really well. We showed more effort, our pressure on the ball carrier particularly in the forward half was a lot better and overall our backline got on top,” he said.
And Carter praised the effort of his midfield group led by Geary, Baird and Rosa, who’d really sliced the game open in the second half.
Plus the coach noted the Dogs were able to sneak back to second spot on the ladder following the big win.
They’ve got AFL Victoria rep. player Toma, full-forward Ryan Herring (a one-match suspension, now served), swingman Travis Baird and key defender Brayden Dorrington ready to resume well before the finals start.
SANDHURST again won the battle between first and second – for the second week in a row.
In oundd 14 the Dragons had dispensed with Golden Square. This time they bounced back from a three-quarter time deficit to beat the Strathfieldsaye Storm at the QEO and toss the Storm down to third position on the ladder.
Led by gritty midfielders Blair Holmes, Alex Wharton and his 100-game brother Joel plus Kristan Height (three goals) the Hurst snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Storm extending back to 2014.
In a low-scoring scrap Sandhurst nailed the only two majors in the opening quarter as the match was bogged down between the QEO’s two 50m arcs.
After Pascale Craig had snapped the first goal of the second term the Dragons led by 17 points with the Storm still goalless.
It took until the eight-minute mark of the second quarter for Storm’s Matt Harvey to boot the visitors’ opening major. Surprisingly, Strathfieldsaye snatched a two-point half-time lead with a pair of goals in time-on.
The Hurst managed to get out to a seven-point lead mid-third term before Tom Bartholomew led a late Storm surge for the reigning premiers to again snatch a two-point lead.
Pascale Craig took his overall tally to three goals with two match-sealers in the final term as Storm just couldn’t make up the leeway.
Strathfieldsaye obviously felt the loss of co-captain Shannon Geary who’d gone off with a hamstring injury just before the long break.
EAGLEHAWK extended their winning streak to six on the trot despite an atrocious conversion rate in the first half.
When they finally took their cement boots off the Hawks accounted for South Bendigo by 57 points.
But a half-time scoreline of 3.13, for a lead of just 13 points, didn’t look promising for Eaglehawk. Then the midfield dominance of Ben McPhee and the two Collins, Brodie and Jesse, proved the difference.
South’s Daniel Nalder was the lynchpin in defence for the Bloods with Jayden Sheean and Mitch Rogerson solid through the middle.
CASTLEMAINE and Kyneton won the remaining two BFNL games with the Maine Magpies registering their biggest score since late in season 2005.
In the battle with the Maryborough Magpies Rhys Ford and Klai Jermyn headed the Maine goalkicking list of 13 players with eight and six majors, respectively.
Castlemaine drilled 33 goals at the narrow Camp Reserve.
In the struggle to field enough senior players Maryborough coach Shane Skontra came out of retirement and pulled on the boots. He landed one goal.
Once again ruckman Andrew Siekai was Maryborough’s main goalkicker, landing three of the Princes Park Pies’ six.
The Tigers relished their trip to Gisborne’s Gardiner Reserve – no longer the feared ‘Graveyard’ of the mid-Noughties – as they downed the Bulldogs by 49 points
And grabbed back their spot in the BFNL top Five, on percentage from Kangaroo Flat.
Mitch Scholard booted six goals for Kyneton to join Eaglehawk’s Matt Gretgrix in equal top spot on the goalkicking list. The two full-forwards each have 65 goals with three rounds to play.
Returning after a two-week injury layoff Kyneton small forward Ben Weightman booted three goals while midfielders Jarrod Witnish and Rhys Magin were in fine touch. Magin played possibly his best game of the 2016 season.
Final scores, around the grounds: Castlemaine 33.21 (219) def. M’borough 6.7 (43); Eaglehawk 13.18 (96) def. Sth. Bendigo 5.9 (39); Kyneton 20.12 (132) def. Gisborne 12.11 (83) and Sandhurst 9.12 (66) def. Strathfieldsaye 6.11 (47).
Full ladder: Sandhurst 13 wins, 2 losses, 52 points, 216%; G. Square 12-3, 48, 191%; S’saye 12-3, 48, 163%; Eaglehawk 9-6, 36, 146%; Kyneton 9-6, 36, 120.9%
Kang. Flat 9-6, 36, 118.2%; Castlemaine 7-8, 28, 91.3%; South Bendigo 2-13, 8; Gisborne 2-13, 8; Maryborough 0-15, 0.
Round 16 (all Saturday): Castlemaine vs. Eaglehawk, South Bendigo vs. Gisborne, G. Square vs. Maryborough, Kang. Flat vs. Sandhurst and Kyneton vs. Strathfieldsaye.