A DEPLETED South Bendigo hung on just long enough to defeat hard-charging Gisborne at the Harry Trott Oval on Saturday.
The Bulldogs outscored the Bloods nine goals to three in a pulsating second half, but ran out of time to snatch the four premiership points.
South was down to two rotations for most of the last half with playing coach Brady Childs and ace goalsneak Brock Harvey injured and stranded on the bench.
Yet credit must be paid to Gisborne who had Clinton Young a late withdrawal but two handy sharpshooters of their own in Tom Wood and Tristan James as South eased home, 14.14 (98) to 12.15 (87).
In the BFNL’s closest Round 11 match it was all South in the first half.
They extended their 16-point lead quarter-time lead to 46 points by the long break with the inaccurate Dogs posting 1.9 in the second quarter.
In the post-match wash-up that second term probably cost Gisborne the game. Kicking to the Lowndes Street end South had Harvey on fire as he banged home four majors as the Bloods added 7.3.
Alex Hywood, a busy midfielder-forward, added two more South majors as the Bloods eased out to a seven-goal lead.
Gisborne, in comparison, had only Jarryd Vernon on target as he soccered home a goal in time-on after costly misses by Connor Kilbane, Jake Conolan and Kane Grbac.
But the tempo shifted as the third term got underway. Woods, James and Daniel Weaver rammed home majors as South’s lead was whittled away.
When James slotted his second and Vernon climbed over two South defenders to mark and goal, suddenly the Dogs were just 30 points down at the last change.
Forty seconds into the last term Kilbane made amends for his earlier miss when he took a pass from Aaron Storie (the replacement for Clinton Young) and slotted a Dogs’ goal.
When Wood angled home his second major and then made no mistake for his third from 25m out following an in-the-back free kick the margin was back to just two goals.
But there was a hiccup for the Dogs. Jarrad Vernon was yellow carded and sent off at the 18-minute mark, leaving Gisborne with just 17 men.
Still, realising how desperate things had become the Bloods rallied. Hywood goaled from a free kick to edge South’s lead out to 18 points at the 22-minute mark.
It was South’s first major since Tom McGhee’s big on-target bomb at the 20-minute mark of the third quarter.
Tristan James snapped a time-on beauty for the Dogs but the clock had wound down and the Bloods prevailed by 11 points.
Childs said his defence led by Zac Hare and Brad Wright had again stood up strongly under pressure.
“Not only can these guys shut down opposition forwards they also drive off to set up scoring chances.
“But really it was a tale of two halves. Our first half was impressive but in the second they took the footy off us and started running with it as we went into our shells.
“So to get the win was the end benefit of setting ourselves up early with close to an eight-goal lead at one stage,” Childs said.
South Bendigo 4.5 11.8 13.13 14.14 (98)
Gisborne 2.1 3.10 8.13 12.15 (87)
Goals – South Bendigo: Brock Harvey 4, Alex Hywood 3, Daniel Johnstone 2, Tom McGhee, Brady Childs, Liam Bartels, Mitchell Hocking, Isaiah Miller. Gisborne: Thomas Wood 3, Tristan James 3, Jarryd Vernon 2, James Ferry, Daniel Weaver, Liam Rodgers, Connor Kilbane.
Best – South Bendigo: Zac Hare, Mitch Rogerson, Cohen Balnaves, Brad Wright, Alex Hywood, Kieran Strachan, Brock Harvey. Gisborne: James Ferry, Ryan Baker, Eamon McKenna, Jack Reaper, Josh Grabham, Aaron Storie, Thomas Wood.
GOLDEN Square leapt into early July premiership favouritism with a comprehensive 46-point defeat of ladder leader Strathfieldsaye.
The Dogs inflicted the first loss for the Storm on their Tannery Lane home deck in 30 matches. It was also the Bulldogs’ second win this season over the Storm, repeating their Round 2 victory.
Strathfieldsaye hadn’t lost at home since Round 3 in 2014 as the Bulldogs set another mark, becoming the first club to score more than 90 points against the Storm this season.
Square set up the win with a 5.3 to 1.3 first quarter. As coach Bernie Haberman said after the match his players “scored eight times from 10 forward 50 entries in that first quarter.”
“We played four, enterprising quarters. Strath had moments at the end of the second quarter and then again at the start of the third but apart from that we controlled the game.”
Travis Baird drilled six goals for the Square while his young forward line sidekick Jordan Rosengren added four.
“It was close to a complete performance,” Bulldogs’ coach Haberman opined.
The BFNL’s leading senior goalkicker Lachie Sharp of the Storm was held to 2.3 by veteran Square defender, the helmeted Clayton Anderson.
Strathfieldsaye appeared over-reliant on Sharp and Anderson under-scored his reputation as a reliable shut-down defender with an excellent individual performance.
During the third term the Storm did lose Harry Conway and Jack Neylon — both to concussions, with one the result of ‘friendly fire’ –– but the game had gone by then.
THE remaining three games all resulted in 100-point plus blowouts.
Kyneton presented last round winners Maryborough with a harsh reality check as the Tigers crushed the Princes Park Pies by 114 points at the Showgrounds.
Mercurial small forward Ben Weightman leapt right into contention for the 2017 Ron Best medal with a 10-goal haul for the high-scoring Tigers.
He now trails overall leader Lachie Sharp of the Storm by just three with the Ron Best Medal battle suddenly springing to life in mid-winter.
It was Weightman’s third 10-goal haul for Kyneton since joining the Tigers in 2014. Fellow key target Mitchell Scholard nailed five majors for Kyneton.
The Magpies had to go into the match with a recast side. There were six changes from the line-up which had accounted for Castlemaine a week earlier.
Ironically, one of the best for the Tigers was former Magpie Billy Mahony. Maryborough’s leading players included regular prolific on-ballers Ethan Crackel and Coby Perry.
EAGLEHAWK slaughtered the faltering Kangaroo Flat by 112 points on the Roos’ home deck while Sandhurst kept Castlemaine firmly grounded in the cellar with a 104-point belting at the Maine’s Camp Reserve.
The Hawks’ Matthew Gretgrix is third on the goalkicking table and booted his 700th BFL career goal just before half-time on Saturday.
The Two Blues’ veteran nailed seven for the Hawks against the Roos for a season total of 58 and a career tally of 704.
The G-Train spent 2009 back at his home club Charlton after the 2007-08 flags with Eaglehawk and then 2014 at Mount Pleasant in the Heathcote DFL.
He won the league’s Ron Best goalkicking medal with 82 majors in 2015 and was runner-up last season.
Matt ‘Doggy’ Filo was another goalkicking star for the Hawks drilling six against the side co-coached by his father Shawn Filo. Two Blues’ small forward Riley Saunders bagged four.
On-baller Ben McPhee continued his standout season for the Hawks with the Roos’ Jonathan Lanyon again forced to carry a heavy load while determined tagger Ross Turner was assigned to the G-Train task.
SANDHURST put their game against Castlemaine away early, just as Square did out on the Storm’s home deck.
The Dragons started with a five-goal-to-zero first term and the lead ballooned steadily after that.
Coach Wayne Primmer was delighted that nine of the Hurst’s 21 goals were kicked by his talls.
“I was really happy with that and very pleased that our prime on-baller Lee Coghlan celebrated his 150th senior game with a best-on-ground effort,” Primmer said.
Apart from Coghlan the Dragons had top players in Codie Price who set Sandhurst up off half-back while mids Xavier Walsh and Lachlan Zimmer provided a ton of run and carry.
Jackson Hood nailed four of Castlemaine’s six goals to be the home side’s best.
Final scores: Eaglehawk 25.15 (165) d Kang. Flat 8.5 (53), Kyneton 24.15 (159) d Maryborough 6.9 (45), Sandhurst 21.18 (144) d Castlemaine 6.4 (40) and Golden Square 15.9 (99) d Strathfieldsaye 7.11 (53).
Ladder, Top Five: Strath Storm 9 wins 2 losses; G. Square 9-2, Eaglehawk 9-2; Sandhurst 7 wins, 1 draw, 3 losses; South Bendigo 7-4.
Then: Kyneton 6-1-4; Gisborne 3-8; Kangaroo Flat 2-9; Maryborough 1-10; Castlemaine 1-10.
Leading goalkickers: Lachlan Sharp (Storm) 2, 62; Ben Weightman (Kyn) 10, 59; Matt Gretgrix (E’hawk) 7, 58; Travis Baird (GS) 6, 35; Mitchell Scholard (Kyn) 5, 33.
July 8: General BFNL bye.