Storm, Hawks win vital top of ladder clashes by Richard Jones

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Bendigo footy, wrap of round seven

Strathfieldsaye and Eaglehawk won Saturday’s battles involving Bendigo’s top five clubs but by vastly different margins.

The Storm shot to the top of the ladder following a 66-point thumping of former pacesetters Golden Square while Eaglehawk sneaked across the line by one point over fifth-placed Sandhurst.

The wins left the dual round seven winners in the top two spots on the ladder.

The Storm had to bounce back from an early setback with Square nailing the first three goals of the afternoon. But by the first break Strathfieldsaye led and with ace spearhead Lachlan Sharp (8 goals) again in great touch the Storm had a 58-point advantage by the last break. In Eaglehawk’s case the Two Blues fought back from a 13-point half-time deficit to snatch the lead midway through the final term and were able to hang on long enough to snare their sixth win of the year. In other games Gisborne landed the best first quarter tally so far this season with a burst of 10.6 (66) at Castlemaine’s Camp Reserve. The Bulldogs went on to secure a massive 140-point victory with five players, headed by Jaidyn Owen and Jake Conolan,  landing three or more goals apiece.

South Bendigo downed Kangaroo Flat at their home-away-from-home venue at Harry Trott Oval to reverse last August’s result when the Roos scored a surprise victory. Small forward Kaiden Antonowicz bounced back to his scintillating best snaring seven of South’s 14 goals. And in Sunday’s Indigenous Round fixture Kyneton accounted for Maryborough at Princes Park by 45 points.

SandhurstDragonsAT the QEO an early stiff breeze favoured the Barnard Street end goals although by the time Sandhurst had last use of it in the final term it had died to a gentle zephyr. Playing coach Andrew Collins refused to use that as an excuse despite the Dragons banging home a healthy second term return of 6.2 to lead the Hawks by 13 points at half-time. Collins himself was in great touch alternating between the midfield and the half-forward line. He notched three of the Hurst’s six second-quarter majors. Eaglehawk had bounced out of the blocks landing four first quarter goals at the favoured end yet their defence was somewhat shredded by the long break. A score of 3.1 in the third term didn’t seem to be a big enough tally for the Hawks as they trailed the Hurst by two points at the last change. Yet they still had plenty of run left in the legs. Brodie and Jesse Collins, Riley Saunders and Jonty Neaves were Eaglehawk’s prime movers and they snatched an eight-point lead after scores had been level on 55 points apiece early in the final term. But the Dragons fought back. Regular defender Jake Pallpratt and interchange player Dylan Morris scored vital goals after the Hawks’ Brodie Collins and Gedd Hommelhoff sank what apppeared to be the match-winning majors. The visitors’ defence held out a last-ditch set shot attempt at goal from the Hurst’s Blair Holmes who’d twice been on target from further out in the second stanza.

StrathstormSTRATHFIELDSAYE shredded the much-vaunted Golden Square defensive structure landing 20 goals at Wade Street. The Storm’s 20.14 was the highest score kicked against the Square since early in the 2009 season. Nonetheless inside the opening seven minutes the Square landed the opening three goals through Jake Thrum, Hamish Morcom and Dylan Johnstone before the Storm got going. They reeled in the 18-point deficit and opened up a 15-point lead by the first break on the back of five unanswered majors. Strathfieldsaye midfielder Josh Formosa was the game’s standout player. Not only was he a prolific ball-winner but Formosa also added three goals, including the Storm’s first two of the match. Sharp nailed five of his eight goals during a 13-minute burst in the third quarter as he led Square defender Will Lee to the ball time and again. Former captain Shannon Geary was a controlling player across half-back while Bryce Curnow booted three majors in his return game for the Storm –his first for 2018. Adam Baird booted two goals for the Square whose best included backman turned midfielder Jon Coe and tireless follower Matt Compston.

SouthBendigologoSOUTH Bendigo bounced back into the top five with a 45-point win over Kangaroo Flat at the Harry Trott Oval. After a couple of quiet weeks Kaiden Antonowicz returned to his brilliant best with a seven-goal tally with Leroy Miller adding three majors and Joel Swatton two. Midfielder Brody Haddow was best on the Trott Oval while youngster Brayden Torpey was again in great touch with his run and rebounding. Corey Daniels played his best game for the Bloods. The Roos could manage just one major in the first half but could take some heart out of the final quarter when they outscored South 5.4 to 5.1. Big ruckman Nick Lang was again in great touch for the Flat while young livewire forwarrd Dylan Klemm bobbed up with three goals.

GisborneGISBORNE dished out another heavy loss to Castlemaine on the back of their outstanding first quarter. The Dogs were already 60 points in front by quarter-time meaning the final three stanzas were just a formality. Gisborne featured 11 goalkickers in their haul of 26 with four each landed by Jaidyn Owen and Jake Conolan while youngster Sebastian Bell-Bartels nailed three along with Thomas Wood and Ethan Minns. Classy midfielder Matt Goodyear was best for the Graveyard Dogs. He’s back at the Gardiner Reserve having started 2018 on Footscray’s VFL list. Castlemaine endured their fourth loss by 120 points or more in their past six fixtures. William Moran and Sean Moss were the Maine’s best as Bendigo Pioneers’ listed Zach Denahy booted two of their five goals

KynetonTigersIN the Sunday game, the main fixture of the Indigenous Round, Kyneton needed a six-goal-to-one third quarter to shake off a gallant Maryborough. In the big game at Princes Park the Magpies led by five pontsat the first break and by four points at half-time. Tigers’ star Rhys Magin lifted his side with five goals in his best afield effort while the returning Jordan Mangan was good in the ruck contests. Dependable defender Jack Exell was again in fine touch for Kyneton although on the downside big key forward Dan Davie was again reported for striking. Maryborough’s best included the reliable Luke Bucknall along with Jayden Hooper and Jacob Long.

Final scores: Eaglehawk 10.10 (70) def Sandhurst 10.9 (69), Gisborne 26.19 (175) def Castlemaine 5.5 (35), South Bendigo 14.17 (101) def Kang. Flat 8.8 (56), Strathfieldsaye 20.14 (134) def G. Square 10.8 (68) and Kyneton 14.15 (99) def  M’borough 8.6 (54).

Top Five: Strathfieldsaye 6 wins 1 loss, 192.7%, 24 prem. points; Eaglehawk 6-1, 178.6%, 24; Kyneton 5-1-1, 22; Golden Square 5-2, 20; South Bendigo 3-1-3, 14.

Round 8: Strathfieldsaye v South Bendigo, Eaglehawk v Kang. Flat, Gisborne v Golden Square, Kyneton v Castlemaine and Sandhurst v Maryborough.

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