Bendigo footy wrap
SANDHURST regained the Graeme Wright Memorial Cup by downing old rivals South Bendigo by 27 points at the QEO on Saturday. The Dragons turned a 20-point deficit early in the third quarter into close to a five-goal win with a blitz of nine unanswered majors. The Bloods, though, had led by 14 points at the long break and then booted the first goal of the third term through Brayden Torpey to stretch the lead out to 20 points. But then the Hurst midfield got on top in the centre and around the stoppages as the Dragons clicked into gear. In other games Kyneton landed a massive 13 goals in the third term to savage Kangaroo Flat on the Roos’ home deck while Eaglehawk held Castlemaine to just two goals as they landed an astonishing 36 in reply. Reigning premiers Strathfieldsaye opened their 2018 account with an eight-goal win over Gisborne in the twilight game and Golden Square made it two wins from two outings with a 118-point belting of Maryborough.
Kyneton had their game won by quarter-time on a sunny autumn afternoon following a six-goal opening term blitz from midfielder/forward Ethan Foreman. He goaled from contested marks, snaps from the pocket and long range set shots. The Tigers led by 10 goals to one at the first change. Foreman finished the match with eight majors and was joined on the goal-kicking list by best afield Max O’Sullivan (6) while Jack Exell and Nick Brazil booted four each. It was a day for small forwards as the Flat’s Damian Wust landed five for the Roos. But the Flat’s key position players, apart fron Charlie Bowyer (two goals), were unsighted all afternoon. The Roos did outscore Kyneton six goals to two in the final term, a fact noted by Tigers’ coach Luke Beattie, but all that achieved was to slash the three-quarter time gap of 144 points back to 86 by final siren-time.
Eaglehawk handed the hapless Castlemaine their worst loss in a senior BFNL clash for 40 years. Magpie coach Derrick Filo described the 212-point loss on the Maine’s home deck as a trainwreck. “Eaglehawk has certainly improved from a good team in 2017 to a superb one this year. But our missed tackles, horrible decisions and skill errors from good players meant we turned in a shocker,” Filo said. Already 120 points in front at three-quarter time the Two Blues finished with a burst of 15.2 to 0.0 to extend their winning margin to beyond the 200-point mark. Thirteen Eaglehawk players hit the scoreboard with former Ron Best medallist Matt Gretgrix heading the tally with six goals. Sean Williams slotted five while no fewer than five other players – including returning centre half-forward Shaun Knott – all landed three majors each. Meanwhile Castlemaine has joined Maryborough this season by not fielding an under-18 footy team.
Sandhurst stepped up after Brayden Torpey’s goal for South at the four-minute mark of the third term. The Dragons added nine goals in a row with Galen Munari kick-starting the revival. And when playing coach Andrew Collins kicked the first goal of the final term Hurst had increased their overall tally from 27 to 69 while holding the Bloods scoreless. Finally livewire small forward Brock Harvey ended a 52-minute South drought without a goal when he kicked his fourth. Sandhurst’s midfield led by skipper Blair Holmes, Lee Coghlan utility Zac East and Adam Parry turned the game in the second half. South had to replace ruckman Kieran Strachan, a late call-up for Essendon’s VFL side.. The loss leaves the Bloods with just two premiership points following their opening round draw down at Kyneton.
Golden Square followed their opening round victory over fellow top five contenders Sandhurst with a 118-point win over Maryborough. It was the seventh consecutive meeting between the two clubs where the Dogs have won by 100 or more points. Square held Maryborough to just one goal in the first half by which stage they were 79 points ahead. Four Bulldogs combined for 15 goals between them: Travis Baird (5), Jayden Burke (4), assistant coach Brad Eaton (three) and Bailey George (3).
As was the case in most other round two games the midfield brigade for Strath Storm was the dominant factor in the twilight game against Gisborne. The Storm landed 13 goals to six after quarter-time in their first victory under incoming coach Troy Coates. Josh Formosa, the two Donnans – Trent and Wade – and Jake Moorhead all turned in solid performances for Strathfieldsaye. Ruckman Harry Crone and new skipper Kallen Geary (brother of St. Kilda captain Jarryn) were driving forces for the Storm. Anthony Belcher, making a return to the Gisborne Bulldogs’ playing group, was in his team’s best players along with Jack Reaper and Heath Simpson. New Gisborne playing coach, former Hawthorn premiership player Clinton Young, hasn’t pulled on the boots for 2018 as yet.
Final scores: Sandhurst 13.11 (89) def. Sth. Bendigo 9.8 (62), Eaglehawk 36.16 (232) def. Castlemaine 2.8 (20), Kyneton 27.12 (174) def. Kangaroo Flat 13.10 (88), Strath Storm 15.13 (103) def. Gisborne 8.4 (52) and Golden Square 23.22 (160) def. Maryborough 6.6 (42).
Top Five after 2 rounds: Eaglehawk 8 pts., Golden Square 8, Kyneton 6, Strathfieldsaye 4, Gisborne 4.
Round three, all Saturday: Sandhurst v Kang. Flat, Maryborough v South Bendigo, Eaglehawk v Gisborne, Kyneton v Strathfieldsaye (N), C’maine v Golden Square (N). N = night fixture.