Bendigo Football League…
SANDHURST celebrated the unfurling of their 2016 Bendigo Football League premiership flag with a massive 199-point pummelling of Castlemaine at the QEO on Saturday night.
Headed by skipper Blair Holmes and key forward Matt Gray who slotted five majors each the Dragons finished with 11 goalkickers on the official scorecard.
The Magpies didn’t trouble the goal umpire at all in the first term. They landed their first score – a behind – three minutes into the second term.
The Maine’s first goal nailed by Mark Ramsay came 27 minutes into the second stanza before the Dragons roared home 32.22 (214) to 2.3 (15).
The Hurst piled on seven goals in each of the first three quarters and then an astonishing 11 in the final term.
Their intensity never wavered throughout the match.
The signs were ominous for Castlemaine in the opening 17 minutes. For such a young side the Magpies lacked leg speed and were constantly out-bustled and out-muscled in pack situations.
Inside the opening 50 seconds tough inside midfielder Adam Parry nailed the first of his four goals.
And then Parry’s Hurst skipper Blair Holmes took over.
He banged home three majors in quick succession: the first from the city end’s scoreboard flank, the second from further out when he split a pack open at centre half-forward and the third with a booming 55 metre shot following a centre ball-up.
The Maine’s Braidon Blake faced a tough homecoming from former teammates. The ex-Sandhurst player was swung into the ruck and did slot a 40m third quarter goal at the Barnard Street end.
But the Dragons’ goal avalanche continued.
Midfielders Joel Wharton, Holmes, Parry and 2016 Michelsen medallist Kristan Height had a picnic as they streamed out of the middle and down the wide QEO flanks.
Small forward Mitch Dole (four goals) and gun recruit Andrew Collins (four goals) were also prominent.
Collins’ silky skills were evident early on as he stepped around a would-be tackler and slotted the Hurst’s seventh major 21 minutes into the first term.
Gray banged home two goals in quick succession deep into the third quarter, the second from a Height centre square clearance.
The last quarter was a nightmare for Castlemaine. Lee Coghlan joined in the goal-fest after opponent Joel Smith had played on, was caught and dropped the ball.
Then Coghlan handballed over the top of two on-rushing Magpie opponents and found Pascale Craig. His goal took the lead out to 150 points.
The only interest by this stage was how big Sandhurst’s eventual winning margin would be.
Collins took a Nick Stagg pass to drill his third major and then landed the Hurst’s 31st major not long afterwards.
Mitch Dole brought up the 11th and final goal of the term when he strolled into the Barnard Street end’s goal square to slam through his fourth major of the night.
Sandhurst’s multiple goalkickers were Holmes and Gray (five each), Collins, Dole and Parry (four each), Joel Wharton (three) and Coghlan and Nick Stagg (two each).
Dragons’ coach Wayne Primmer was extremely pleased with the efforts of his players.
“We needed to redeem some things we did wrong last week (against the Storm). As a team I thought we combined beautifully tonight,” he said.
“So to fit just six players into our ‘best’ list was pretty hard as it was such a top team performance.”
Looking ahead to the round three grand final re-match at Golden Square Primmer said the Dragons would need to replicate the pressure shown against Castlemaine.
IN OTHER matches Square confounded the tipsters with a 14-point win over Strathfieldsaye Storm, Eaglehawk extended its winning streak to two with an all-the-way 38- point win over Kangaroo Flat while South Bendigo revelled in the away trip to the Gardiner Reserve by beating Gisborne by 37 points.
In the other Saturday night fixture Kyneton belted Maryborough by 78 points under lights at Princes Park.
South’s new spearhead Kaiden Antonowitz showed why there were big pre-season wraps on him with a seven-goal performance at the Gardiner Reserve.
Gisborne on-ball leader Shaun Comerford booted four goals for the Bulldogs while ex-Hawthorn premiership winger Clinton Young nailed a pair of majors.
Kyneton’s exciting small forward Ben Weightman booted seven majors at Maryborough with spearhead Mitchell Scholard contributing five.
Golden Square skipper Jack Geary, who had a productive off-season in Darwin, nailed three majors in Square’s home win over the Storm.
Lachlan Sharp drilled four of Storm’s nine goals as Strathfieldsaye fell short at the Wade Street oval.
Final scores: Golden Square 11.13 (79) def. Strathfieldsaye 9.11 (65), Kyneton 20.8 (128) def. Maryborough 7.8 (50), Eaglehawk 14.11 (95) def. Kangaroo Flat 8.9 (57) and South Bendigo 19.8 (122) def. Gisborne 13.7 (85).
Top Five: Kyneton 2-0; Eaglehawk 2-0; Golden Square 2-0; Sandhurst 1-1 and Strathfieldsaye 1-1.