Unbeaten Hawks snag top spot in BFNL by Richard Jones

BFNLLogo1Bendigo footy round-up

EAGLEHAWK won ‘ugly’ in the Bendigo league’s clash of the two unbeaten sides as they accounted for Golden Square by 19 points on Saturday. On the Square’s home deck at Wade Street the Hawks fought back from a four-point deficit at half-time to win by 19 points. Perhaps the Hawks should have won by more. They had 25 scoring shots to Square’s 11 but wasted many scoring opportunities inside forward 50. In the other Big Four clash Strathfieldsaye downed major rivals Sandhurst, also by 19 points, in their Tannery Lane battle. The Storm’s ace forward Lachie Sharp, returning after a hamstring strain, booted six majors as the home team booted four of the match’s concluding five goals.

Down at Gisborne’s Gardiner Reserve Kyneton unleashed a third quarter salvo of eight straight goals to sink the Dogs by 27 points.There’d been only a point separating the Tigers and Gisborne at each of the first two quarter breaks before Kyneton bombarded the big sticks at the creek end to put an end to the match as a contest. In other games South Bendigo celebrated its 125th anniversary multi-team reunions with a 61-point victory over Castlemaine while Kangaroo Flat opened their 2018 winning account by downing Maryborough by 22 points.

The victories lifted the Bloods to fourth spot on the ladder while the Flat climbed off the bottom rung to fill eighth spot overall.

Eaglehawk took until 11 minutes into term two to score their first goal. Their opening seven scores had all been behinds. Golden Square, meanwhile, booted the first three goals of the match with Travis Baird’s major coming after a pass following a four-bounce run by skipper Jack Geary. There were just four points between the top two clubs at the long break before the Hawks got going.

Nine points down into the first part of the final term Eaglehawk outscored the Square 28-0 with Shaun Knott (2), Riley McIvor and Ben McPhee landing their last four majors. Considering they’d had 14 more scoring shots  Eaglehawk’s winning margin should probably have been a big higher than the ultimate 19 points.

It took Kyneton until midway through the third term to shake off a persistent Gisborne side. The Bulldogs stayed with the Tigers for the first half, leading by a point at the first break and then down by a similar score at half-time. Then Kyneton took over. Eight goals without blemish handed the visitors a handy 22-point lead at lemon time as running players Chris Barry, skipper Josh Govan and Billy Mahoney stamped their authority on the contests. Wingman Barry finished with a game-high threee goals while Govan, Max O’Sullivan, big forward Daniel Davie and Ethan Foreman all finished with two. Running winger Ethan Minns was Gisborne’s best with Jake Conolan, Shaun Comerford, Jack Scanlon and Jaidyn Owen all contributing two goals. Tigers’ coach Luke Beattie said it took an “old-school tongue lashing” at half-time to get his players up and firing for their third quarter heroics.

Strathfieldsaye finished more strongly than Sandhurst in the other Big Four shoot-out as they landed nine goals to five in the second half. The Dragons had led by a single kick at the long break with forward Daniel Connors almost on target as frequently as Storm’s Sharp. Connors finished with five goals to be in his side’s best three. Strathfieldsaye wrested back the lead in the third quarter banging home 5.3 to 1.1 before maintaining their lead in the desperate final quarter. Big ruckmen Tim Martin (Sandhurst) and Harry Crone fought out an entertaining clash in the ruck while Tom Dowd (playing his 100th game for Storm), Jake Moorhead and reliable centreman Trent Donnan were in the home side’s best.Lee Coghlan joined  Martin and Connors at the top of the Dragons’ best-of list. 

In the other two games an inaccurate South Bendigo downed Castlemaine by 61 points while Kangaroo Flat notched their first win by accounting for Mayborough by just short of four goals. The Bloods posted only 11 majors from 32 scoring shots but on the flipside the South defenders restricted the Maine Magpies to just three goals. South small forward Kaiden Antonowicz zoomed to the top of the BFNL goalkicking table with four majors (15 for the season) while Fabian Brancatisano (Cm) and Brock Harvey (SB) landed two apiece. The Roos led at every change out at Dower Park with Liam Collins, co-coach Corey Greer and Jonathan Lanyon among their best. Dylan Klemm booted four of the Flat’s 12 majors while Zac Egan was Maryborough’s only multiple goalkicker with two.

Final scores: Kyneton 17.6 (108) def. Gisborne 12.9 (81), Eaglehawk 9.16 (70) def. G. Square 8.3 (51), South Bendigo 11.21 (87) def. Castlemaine 3.8 (26), Strath Storm 14.13 (97) def. Sandhurst 12.6 (78) and Kang. Flat 12.12 (84) def. Maryborough 10.2 (62).

Ladder, Top 5: Eaglehawk 4-0, 16 prem. pts.; Golden Square 3-1, 253.8%, 12; Strathfieldsaye 3-1, 122.4%, 12; South Bendigo 2-1-1, 135.4%, 10; Kyneton 2-1-1, 133.3%, 10.

Next week, round 5 (all Saturday): Maryborough v Strathfieldsaye, Castlemaine v Kang. Flat, Golden Square v South Bendigo, Sandhurst v Gisborne, Kyneton v Eaglehawk.

Saturday May 19th, inter-league: Bendigo vs. Hampden at Warrnambool.

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