Bendigo Football League…
EAGLEHAWK underscored their standing as a top three ladder contender with an emphatic 45-point win over former leading side Strathfieldsaye on Saturday.
With spearhead Matt Gretgrix unstoppable up forward as he drilled seven goals, Ben McPhee the most prolific midfielder on Canterbury Park and youngster Oscar Madden shutting down Storm goalsneak Lachie Sharp the Hawks surged further ahead at each break.
Strathfieldsaye could manage just a miserable nine goals for an afternoon’s work.
Gretgrix saw off two Storm defenders in Keelan Payne and Nick Clydesdale as he took his season’s goal tally to 65 with Eaglehawk roaring home 17.12 (114) to 9.15 (69).
The Storm’s only real competitive quarter was the first. With Shannon Geary and Kellan Smith providing the spark, and Geary on target with his goalkicking, Strathfieldsaye was just four points down at the first change.
And that was despite Gretgrix sinking three majors at the Simpson’s Road end with his second and third coming from deliberate set shots.
The Hawks gradually forged further and further ahead with Matt Filo drilling two second term goals, Cam McGlashan kicking truly after a strong overhead grab and Gretgrix twice outmarking Payne for a pair.
There was some drama at the Simpson’s Road end goalmouth. Storm’s Jake Hall appeared to have snapped truly for a major but after three umpires conferred – a central, a boundary and the goal umpire – Hall’s shot was ruled touched as it travelled over the line.
The Hawks added five goals to three in the third term with McPhee dominant around the stoppages.
The Storm looked cooked. Even though Sharp nailed his second major from a set shot after playing on but then being called back to take his kick Hawks’ skipper Tim Hill and Madden shut down the Strathfieldsaye forwards.
McPhee nailed two Eaglehawk goals, both from snaps, Gedd Hommelhoff bobbed up with another after Riley McIvor had sweetly passed the ball to him and by the last change Eaglehawk was in complete control, seven goals up.
The last quarter was just a formality. Even though Storm’s Harry Conway nailed an early set shot Strathfieldsaye’s fourth term tally ended up as a paltry 1.7.
Gretgrix took his individual goal tally to seven after marking strongly, playing on and sending a high bomb through the big sticks.
And even though he didn’t add to his one major from the first term, Sean Williams’ marking and forward line teamwork was outstanding.
Hawks’ coach Josh Bowe said adding to the club’s midfield depth was something he’d identified when he’d first been appointed.
“We’re really happy about how we’re going with that part of our game, especially with our young players such as Gedd Hommelhoff and Dylan Hanley coming on.
“But overall we’ve got real belief we’ve got that good footy in us even though the team might have been a little bit rusty early in the season.
“We’re really starting to get it together now,” Bowe said.
Eaglehawk 4.1 10.2 15.8 17.12 (114)
Strathfieldsaye 3.3 5.6 8.8 9.15 (69)
Goals – Eaglehawk: Matt Gretgrix 7, Ben McPhee 3, Gedd Hommelhoff 2, Matt Filo 2, Sean Williams, Jesse Collins, Cam McGlashan. Strathfieldsaye: Shannon Geary 3, Lachlan Sharp 2, Harry Conway 2, Jacob Heavyside, Callum Brady.
Best – Eaglehawk: Ben McPhee (best afield), Matt Gretgrix, Sean Williams, Gedd Hommelhoff, Tim Hill, Oscar Madden, Matt Filo. Strathfieldsaye: Kellan Smith, Shannon Geary, Sam Simmons, Lachlan Ratcliffe, Callum Brady.
GOLDEN Square leapt to the top of the ladder following a 27-point win over arch-rivals and defending premiers Sandhurst.
Spearheaded by key forward Travis Baird, who slotted six majors and was clearly the most damaging forward on the QEO, the Bulldogs saw off every Dragon challenge.
Unfortunately for the Hurst 2016 Michelsen winner and grand final Nalder Medallist Kristan Height might be out of action for the rest of the season. He’s seeking further analysis and treatment from a Melbourne specialist this week about his left thumb where all the main ligaments have been ruptured.
Height may require surgery on his thumb. His arm was in a sling on Saturday as he watched from the sidelines. Height’s thumb problem adds to Sandhurst’s burgeoning injury woes with inter-league half-forward Andrew Collins (hamstring) sidelined as well.
Out on the QEO the Square restricted the Hurst to one behind for the two quarters they kicked to the Barnard Street end.
And of the eight goals the Dragons landed six came in the third term as they rallied from a 19-point half-time deficit to snatch a four-point lead by the last change.
The Bulldogs rallied from the final term moment when Baird ran onto a kind bounce and careered into an open goal.
That major handed the Square the lead for good and the Dragons had nothing left.
It was Golden Square’s eighth win in a row but more importantly their first win over Sandhurst since the 2015 qualifying final.
Baird’s six goals – the first five from marks – made him Square’s most important player. Teammates Dale Lowry, co-skipper Brayden Dorrington and Michael Dalrymple were also important for the Square.
It was a breakout game for the Hurst’s Oscar McKinley who kicked three goals and hauled in the mark-of-the-day – a soaring ‘speccie’ over Square half-back Jon Coe.
THE remaining three matches all went to script with Gisborne, South Bendigo and Kyneton all registering 100 points-plus, or close to 100-points, whitewashes.
At the Gardiner Reserve Gisborne restricted bitterly disappointing Kangaroo Flat to just four goals while registering 27 of their own.
Kyneton held Castlemaine to seven majors at the Camp Reserve while booting 21 – with sharp-shooter Ben Weightman landing 13 of those to rocket to the top of the goalkicking table – with South Bendigo registering a 94-point win at Maryborough’s Princes Park to sneak up to fourth spot on the ladder.
For the Gardiner Reserve Dogs it was their biggest win since 2011.
The match was all done and dusted by quarter-time. The Dogs led 8.3 (51) to 0.3 (3).
Gisborne went on to annihilate the hapless Roos as three forwards had days to remember: Tristan James booted seven goals, Jake Conolan slotted six while Jack Baker added three.
The Flat has won just two games this season and is fast heading towards the gloom of the early 2000s when they regularly filled the BFL cellar.
South’s regular backman Brad Wright had a day out at Maryborough on Saturday.
Swung into the front half Wright nailed seven goals on the day: six of them coming during the Bloods’ 10-goal second quarter avalanche.
And South Bendigo had needed that big second term after the Magpies had crept within seven points by the first change.
With regular follower Kieran Strachan again on VFL duties with Essendon Riley Burns and Tom McGhee shared the ruck duties for South.
The Bloods added 20.9 in the final three quarters with Maryborough’s best dependable on-baller Ethan Crackel.
Cameron Rinaldi nailed three of the Magpies’ goals before going down with a corkie.
It was Weightman day at the Maine’s Camp Reserve as the Tigers’ mercurial small forward nailed a baker’s dozen.
His 13 majors was the biggest haul by a Kyneton forward since Steven ‘The Big Show’ Reaper bagged 14 against Kangaroo Flat in 1998.
The win catapulted the Tigers over Sandhurst and back into the BFNL Top Five as they added 12.16 to the Maine’s 2.5 after half-time.
Max O’Sullivan bagged four goals for Kyneton while dependable Simon Seddon slotted four of Castlemaine’s measly tally of seven goals.
Final scores: Golden Square 11.14 (80) d Sandhurst 8.5 (53), Gisborne 27.15 (177) d Kang. Flat 4.7 (31), South Bendigo 23.17 (155) d Maryborough 9.7 (61) and Kyneton 21.26 (152) d Castlemaine 7.8 (56).
Top Five: Golden Square 10 wins, 2 losses, 167%; Eaglehawk 10-2, 153.7%; Strathfieldsaye 9-3, 165.3%; South Bendigo 8-4, 142.68%; Kyneton 7 wins-1 draw-4 losses, 155.7%.
Leading goalkickers: Ben Weightman (Kyneton) 13, 72; Matt Gretgrix (E’hawk) 7, 65; Lachlan Sharp (S’saye) 2, 64; Travis Baird (GS) 6, 41.
Next week, Round 13: Strathfieldsaye v Gisborne, Golden Square v Eaglehawk, South Bendigo v Castlemaine, Kyneton v Sandhurst and Kang. Flat v Maryborough.