Bendigo Football League round one…
GOLDEN Square maintained its amazing string of successes over Kangaroo Flat with a one-kick win against the Roos at Bendigo Mazda Oval on Good Friday.
Down by seven points at the last change in the Bendigo Football League’s opening round, the Bulldogs peppered the scoreboard end goals although they managed only a wasteful 1.7.
But the resourceful Square defence held the Flat forwards scoreless in the last stanza to take home the four premiership points.
On a picture-perfect autumn afternoon and in front of a massive crowd the game never reached great heights with the Dogs easing home: 6.14 (50) to 6.8 (44).
Just a single goal was booted in the opening term and that didn’t come until the 23-minute mark. Flat’s Jordan Doherty, busy all afternoon, nailed a set shot after Square’s Will Lee was perhaps unluckily pinged for a sliding tackle.
Then the Square got going as the second term opened. Jordan Rosengren booted the first of his pair for the day, with dominant ruckman Matt Compston and Jake Thrum (23 possessions, eight marks) adding two more majors.
Flat kept pace as co-coach Corey Greer with an accurate snap from front and centre of a pack and Tom Holman, playing a loose man in defence, came downfield to slot through a 50m bomb.
When Andrew Cussen nailed another major after the half-time siren had sounded the Roos were suddenly two points ahead.
The Roos looked more enterprising than the Dogs slipping out to a 13-point third quarter lead after Doherty and Cussen had taken their individual goal tallies to two apiece.
But linkman Harry Donegan booted a vital Square major deep into time-on, curling back a snap at the Station Street end goals just seconds from siren time.
Donegan’s major slashed Flat’s lead to seven points and on a low scoring afternoon the target seemed within reach.
The Roos were under pressure all fourth quarter. Square defenders Jon Coe and Michael Dalrymple (22 possessions) kept pumping the ball back across centrefield but goals were extremely hard to come by.
Blake Coyle’s attempted grubber goal slid through for a point, Rosengren’s set shot drifted off-line and midfielder-half-forward Rhys Mutch – who racked up 18 possessions and eight marks – also raised a one-flag response.
Finally Rosengren, with a high up-and-under set shot bomb from the Tabaret flank, catapulted Square to the lead with the sole major of the last term.
Greer and pacy winger Lloyd Needs tried to rally the Roos but the Square defence held firm.
New Square coach Bernie Haberman was full of praise for the Flat’s effort.
“Basically I thought the Flat was the better side for three quarters and probably deserved to win the game.
“We certainly aren’t going to hand them the four points, but I thought we were outworked at the stoppages and they won the contested ball.”
But Haberman praised his six defenders for their resilience. “They were super and there’d only be a couple of times all match their opponents got a clear mark on them.”
STRATHFIELDSAYE won the Easter Saturday clash against reigning premier Sandhurst to start the Storm’s season in stunning style.
A six-goal opening term salvo handed the Storm a 33-point lead by the first break. The Dragons reduced the gap to 21 points by half-time and they then skipped out to a 12-point lead in the third term.
Gun recruit Andrew Collins, reigning Michelsen and Nalder medallist Kristin Height and veteran Wayne Mitrovic led the Hurst revival.
But the Storm was up to the challenge and late goals to Sean Johns and one off-the-ground from co-captain Shannon Geary sealed Strathfieldsaye’s 13-point win.
The home team was well served by defenders Kellan Smith and Keelan Payne who were in outstanding touch for the Storm.
IN other games, all on Good Friday, Eaglehawk restricted South Bendigo to a single goal for three quarters before winning by 13 points, while Castlemaine celebrated favourite son Derrick Filo’s return to the Camp Reserve as coach with a 39-point win under lights over Maryborough.
Hawks’ spearhead Matt Gretgrix almost outscored South on his own, nailing six goals, although the young Bloods steamed home with five last term majors after managing just one for the first three quarters.
The Eaglehawk defence led by Tim Hill and Andrew Conforti strangled the Bloods early on. Teenager Brayden Torpey and recruit Kaiden Antonowicz led South’s last term surge but it was too little, too late.
Kyneton kicked off its 2017 campaign with an eight-point victory over arch-enemy Gisborne with the Bulldogs exceeding everyone’s expectations with a spirited display.
A late Gisborne surge tightened up the Showgrounds scoreboard with Tiger coach Luke Beattie praising the speed shown by the young Bulldogs in the closing 20 minutes.
Castlemaine booted seven goals to three in a third quarter burst to set up their win.
Kal Huntly and Braidon Blake (a 2016 Sandhurst premiership player) both nailed three goals for the Maine while returning 2011 Michelsen Medallist Wayne Schultz was also outstanding.
Coby Perry and Matt Johnston were best for Maryborough.
Final scores: Castlemaine 16.18 (104) def. M’borough 9.11 (65), Eaglehawk 8.12 (60) def. South Bendigo 6.11 (47), Kyneton 16.16 (112) def. Gisborne 15.14 (104) and Strathfieldsaye 13.12 (90) def. Sandhurst 12.5 (77).
Round two, all Saturday: Strathfieldsaye vs. Eaglehawk, Kangaroo Flat vs. Gisborne, South Bendigo vs. Maryborough, Golden Square vs. Sandhurst (night) and Kyneton vs. Castlemaine (night).