Dragons bounce back to best form by Richard Jones

Bendigo FL round 8…

SandhurstDragonsREIGNING premiers Sandhurst bounced back to something approaching their best form with a 58-point win over Kangaroo Flat at Bendigo Mazda Oval on Saturday.

And even though the Roos snatched a one-point lead 22 minutes into the second quarter the Dragons quickly regained the advantage and went on to drill 14 goals to seven after the long break.

Hurst coach Wayne Primmer said later his team had turned in their best performance in four rounds.

“I felt during the week we were going to turn the corner and although it may have taken us half a game we’ve now got to continue on with that form,” he said after the Dragons had cruised home: 21.10 (136) to 12.6 (78).

Following a drab first quarter during which just three goals were posted by the two clubs, the match intensity lifted in the second term.

Lee Coghlan, who had nailed both of Sandhurst’s first term majors, was the inspiration behind the visitors’ lift in form.

He was assisted by returning skipper Blair Holmes and pacy wingman Alex Wharton although the Roos did land five goals at the scoreboard end.

The Flat has unearthed a real find in attack. Kansas Varker could become a Roos’ cult figure after hammering home three of his four goals for the day in the second stanza.

Varker’s second, following a contested mark, handed the Flat a one-point lead as time-on approached: 4.1 (25) to 3.6 (24).

Stung by handing Flat the lead the Dragons rounded out the first half with the last four goals. The final one came as Zac East bombed the ball out of the centre ball-up to find spearhead Wayne Mitrovic only metres out from the goal-mouth.

That was the end of the excitement for the home fans. Sandhurst banged home nine goals to two in the third term with Matt Thornton the pivotal figure across half-forward.

Mitch Dole marked his return from injury with two clever snaps — the second as he took a bounce running towards goal, then slicing the ball through low with the outside of the boot.

Andrew Collins had his work cut out shrugging off talented Flat run-with player Ross Turner but he also snared two goals.

A 50-metre bomb ensured Collins’ second shot would sail straight through as the quarter extended to 35 minutes.

The Roos battled hard as both clubs posted five-goal final quarters. Mitch Collins took his Flat goal tally to three with two steady set shots after Alex Wharton had passed accurately to Thornton and Coghlan had drilled his fourth.

Primmer praised his spread of 10 goalkickers.

“I thought Flat came to play with their pressure really good early. But ours was good, too, and I was pleased with the number of goalkickers we had.

“It’s too easy to stop a side which has just one major goal kicker so we try very hard to get a spread.”

The Dragons sneaked up to fourth spot on the ladder following the completion of Round 8.

Sandhurst            2.2        7.7        16.9         21.10 (136)

Kangaroo Flat      1.0        5.1         7.2          12.6   (78)

Goals – Sandhurst: Lee Coghlan 4, Andrew Collins 3, Kristan Height 3, Matt Thornton 2, Blair Holmes 2, Pascale Craig 2, Mitch Dole 2, Wayne Mitrovic, Xavier Walsh, Joel Wharton. Kang. Flat: Kansas Varker 4, Mitch Collins 3, Jordan Doherty 2, Jack Bower, Alex Pearson, Charlie Bowyer.

Best – Sandhurst: Lee Coghlan (best on ground), Andrew Collins, Matt Thornton, Blair Holmes, Alex Wharton, Joshua Hann. Kang. Flat: Mitch Collins, Kansas Varker, Nick Lang, Jonathan Lanyon, Mitch Holt.

StrathstormSTRATHFIELDSAYE shored up top spot on the ladder with a comprehensive 79-point belting of fellow finals aspirant South Bendigo at the QEO.

The Storm scored 46 points in the final quarter alone, and 46 was all that the Bloods could muster for the match.

Small forward Lachie Sharp nailed five goals to pass the half-century mark before the midway point of the season has even been reached.

Sharp now has 53 majors for 2017.

The two clubs split the first six goals of the game before the Storm made their move.

In a nine-minute salvo in the second term Strathfieldsaye added four unanswered majors. Jake Hall’s snap from a stoppage was followed by quick goals to Jamieson Sheahan, Sharp and Brad Stringer – brother of the Western Bulldogs’ Jake.

And even though Liam Bartels (he landed four of South’s measly seven majors) kicked the opening goal of the third term the Storm then added 11 of the concluding 13 goals of the day to down the Bloods for the eight successive occasion.

GisborneGISBORNE had to rally with a five-goal final quarter burst after trailing winless Maryborough at three-quarter time.

It looked like the season’s major upset was brewing as the Magpies led by four points at the last break: 11.8 (74) to 10.10 (70).

But the Bulldogs held the Borough scoreless in the desperate final term as Jarrad Lynch, Clinton Young (three goals on the day) and Trent Crosbie stepped up.

Jake Conolan headed the Gisborne goalkicking list with four while Maryborough’s best included mid Glen Coleman, teenager Connor O’Shea and Matthew Coon.

Maryborough coach Shane Skontra lamented the one that got away.

“Deep into the game I felt we still could win, but we didn’t finish the job. Credit to Gisborne, though.

“We were wounded in that final quarter and they played some very good footy. We just couldn’t keep the momentum going for the full four quarters.”

It did look at three-quarter time that Maryborough would snap their 45-game losing streak, which stretches back to round 16 in 2014, but more heartbreak was the result for Skontra and his players.

goldenGOLDEN Square squeaked home by a single point at the Kyneton Showgrounds in a spiteful match marred by yellow card infringements.

It was the Tigers’ third loss by seven points or less in their past four fixtures.

Big Kyneton key forward Daniel Davie was reported and shown a yellow card for an alleged striking offence, third quarter.

Kyneton key midfielder Hamish Govan suffered a fractured cheekbone when attempting to take a mark. He was collected by Square spearhead Dylan Johnstone in an incident where Johnstone had his number taken and also sent off.

Govan, who was knocked out in the collision, spent Saturday night in the Sunshine General Hospital in western Melbourne.

Twice during the first half the Square opened up three-goal leads but the Tigers just wouldn’t go away.

Numbers were back to 17 men each after Johnstone was sidelined as the Bulldogs held onto a seven-point final term lead into time-on.

With just moments remaining Kyneton goaled setting up a grandstand finish. Square was leading by a solitary behind.

But despite locking the ball inside forward 50 for the remaining two minutes the Tigers were unable to score either a goal to secure victory or rush a point to level the scores.

eaglehawkeEAGLEHAWK bolstered its percentage by a massive 18.8% to consolidate a berth in the top three with a 106-point caning of Castlemaine.

Six goals to two in the opening term set the scene for the Hawks and with spearhead Matt Gretgrix slotting seven majors for the match the Magpies were on the back foot all day.

It was all over by half-tine with Eaglehawk 53-point leaders. Apart from Gretgrix (now on 32 majors for the year) centre half-forward Cam McGlashan added four goals while regular defender Brenton Conforti relished a switch to the front half with three majors.

On-baller Riley McIvor, McGlashan and tap ruckman Jack Lawton were rated the Hawks’ top three with defender Jackson Hood and running backman Rhys Jenkins best for the Maine.

Final scores: Strath Storm 19.1 (125) d South Bendigo 7.4 (46), G. Square 16.15 (111) d Kyneton 17.8 (110), Eaglehawk 22.14 (146) d Castlemaine 6.4 (40) and Gisborne 15.12 (102) d Maryborough 11.8 (74).

Top Five: Storm 7-1, Golden Square 6-2, Eaglehawk 6-2, Sandhurst 5-1-2, South Bendigo 5-3.

Round 9, all Saturday: Strath Storm v Kyneton, Kang. Flat v South Bendigo, G. Square v Castlemaine, Maryborough v Eaglehawk and Gisborne v Sandhurst.




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