Storm, Hurst win on first week of finals by Richard Jones

Bendigo Football League finals wrap

STRATHFIELDSAYE and Sandhurst were the winners on the first weekend of Bendigo’s 2017 finals action.

StrathstormThe inaccurate Storm outlasted a gallant Golden Square in Saturday night’s qualifying final while the Hurst scraped home by five points over Kyneton on a blustery Sunday afternoon.

At three quarter-time on Saturday night the highly fancied Strath Storm looked jittery.

They were a goal down and could have been two straight kicks behind had the siren not sounded with Square’s Tom Toma running into an open goal.

It was Kallen Geary, brother of St Kilda skipper Jarryn, who’d kept the Storm within reach and got the Storm firing in the final stanza.

A rebounding defender across half-back for the opening three terms Geary went forward for the final quarter and made a huge difference.

In the first 90 seconds he’d marked and goaled to level the scores and had a hand in two more Storm goals.

Coach Darryl Wilson said it had been a gamble to move Geary forward but his class stood out in the desperate final 30 minutes.

The two clubs have the best high pressure defensive zones in the BFL so both the Storm and the Square had trouble getting the ball inside their forward 50s.

Strathfieldsaye racked up more inside 50s for the final yet the Square defence, led by Jon Coe and Will Lee, held up strongly.

That pressure forced the Storm into a multitude of difficult shots at goal and on the night they had to settle for eight rushed behinds.

Clayton Anderson held star Storm forward Lachie Sharp to a solitary major but his young teammates ran out of puff in the final stanza as Storm scored 3.4 to 1.1 to earn a berth in this Saturday night’s second semi-final.

In their back half Strathfieldsaye’s Sam Simmons, Tom Dowd and Harry Conway were solid.

Co-captain Shannon Geary and forward Joshua Formosa were late withdrawals. Geary seems the more likely of the pair to return for Saturday night’s second semi-final against Eaglehawk.

Formosa remains doubtful. He was taken to hospital with kidney stones. 

SandhurstDragonsON Sunday the Dragons posted their first win over Kyneton this season: the round 4 game had resulted in a draw while the Tigers won in round 13 by 21 points.

And Kyneton held onto a two-point lead midway through the last term of Sunday’s elimination final after taking a four-point lead into three-quarter time.

Then as time ticked on in the last stanza the Dragons got busy. In an 11-minute burst they booted four unanswered majors using the stiff breeze which favoured the city end: Seb Greene nailed two while Brodie Montague and Alex Wharton landed one major each.

That seemed to have sunk the Tigers. But two undisciplined Sandhurst acts resulting in 50m penalties enabled spearhead Mitch Scholard to land his fourth goal while Darcy Kelly sank the other.

With 1:30 left on the clock suddenly Kyneton was just 10 points in arrears.

The Hurst hung on with the final siren margin 11 points before the Tigers’ ace small forward Ben Weightman, who’d marked seconds before the end, threaded home a spectacular shot from the boundary line at the Barnard Street end.

That gave him six goals for the match, and a 2017 tally of 96.

For the shattered Tigers it was their third consecutive elimination final loss in three seasons. They haven’t won a finals game on the QEO since 1997, their last premiership year.

And in the year overall Kyneton has drawn two matches and lost another four — including the elimination final — by seven points or less.

For the injury-ravaged Dragons star dual Michelsen Medallist ruckman Tim Martin limped off with yet another left knee injury. He was helped off by two trainers during the third quarter.

But they did have ball magnet Kristan Height back from a serious hand injury although livewire half-forward Nick Stagg was again hampered by an ongoing leg problem. He managed to see the game out.

And in his 50th senior game Seb Greene was lively, slotting three goals, while Andrew Collins, who started forward, was used through the midfield after half-time and made his mark.

Strathfieldsaye  1.5  5.10  6.15  9.19 (73)

Golden Square   3.0  5.0    9.3    10.4 (64)

Goals – Storm: Lachie Sharp, Matt Harvey, Harry Conway, Kallen Geary, Jacob Heavyside, Trent Donnan, Jayden Donaldson, Brad Stringer, Lachlan Bonney. Golden Square: Dylan Johnstone 4, Adam Baird, Hamish Morcom, Braydon Welsh, Jordan Rosengren, Thomas Toma, Jonathan Coe.

Best: Storm: Kallen Geary (best afield), Sam Heavyside, Sam Simmons, Harry Crone, Trent Donnan, Jake Moorhead, Harry Conway. Golden Square: Jack Geary, Clayton Anderson, Will Lee, Matt Compston, Thomas Toma, Dylan Johnstone.

Sandhurst  2.4  5.12   7.13   12.18 (90)                           

Kyneton     4.3   6.3     9.5     13.7  (85)                            

Goals – Sandhurst: Seb Greene 3, Zac East 2, Brodie Montague 2, Lee Coghlan, Joel Wharton, Kristan Height, Blair Holmes, Pascale Craig. Kyneton: Ben Weightman 6, Mitchell Scholard 4, Darcy Kelly, Jordan Mangan, Tom O’Sullivan.

Best – Sandhurst: Andrew Collins (best on ground), Blair Holmes, Brodie Montague, Seb Greene, Lee Coghlan, Hamish Leahy. Kyneton: Ben Weightman, Josh Govan, Tom O’Sullivan, Taylor Kelly, Rhys Magin, Mitchell Scholard.

Daniel Davie (Kyn) reported for allegedly striking Hamish Leahy (Sh) and yellow-carded, second quarter.

This week, second semi-finals Saturday: Eaglehawk v Strathfieldsaye, QEO, 6 pm.

A grade netball: Sandhurst v Golden Square.

First semi-finals Sunday: Golden Square v Sandhurst, 2.20 pm.

A grade netball: Gisborne v Kang. Flat.

Goalkicking: Lachlan Sharp (S’saye) 1, 125; Ben Weightman (Kyneton) 6, 96; Matt Gretgrix (E’hawk) -, 68; Mitchell Scholard (Kyneton) 4, 55.

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