A look at Bendigo footy, round eight
GISBORNE landed the first big upset of the BFL season downing fourth-placed Golden Square and jumping up to sixth spot on the ladder. The Gardiner Reserve Bulldogs barely missed a shot on goal all afternoon and by the last change had scored a super accurate 14.2. On their home deck Gisborne outpaced and out-tackled the Wade Street Dogs and held them to just nine goals for the afternoon. In other matches top club Strathfieldsaye downed hopeful finalists South Bendigo following a six-goal to none burst in the opening 20 minutes while Sandhurst ended up 107-point winners over Maryborough at the QEO. The win catapulted the Dragons back into the Top Five. Kyneton also scored a massive victory by thrashing Castlemaine by 128 points at the Kyneton Showgrounds. And on the back of returning spearhead Matt Gretgrix’s seven majors Eaglehawk belted Kangaroo Flat by an even bigger margin: 167 points.
Gisborne was just too physical and team-oriented for a surprisingly subdued Square side and led at every change. By the last change the Gardiner Reserve Dogs had an amazing almost 14 straight goals on the scoreboard as their forwards and midfielders nailed just about every shot. Playing coach Clinton Young roamed from deep in defence to the half-forward line match-long and inspired his younger teammates to keep running. The Gisborne defence led by Jack Reaper and swingman Ollie Clough held Square forwards Jayden Burke and Dylan Johnstone to a total of four goals – two each – while the home side attack had the majors spread around. Pacy winger Ross Celano nailed two goals along with key forwards Jaidyn Owen and skipper Jarrad Lynch who both hammered home a pair also. Square again relied on outstanding midfielders Adam Baird and skipper Jack Geary to keep them within touch but they had very little assistance.
Eaglehawk had 10 players who booted two or more goals headlined by seven to Gretgrix and 13 goalkickers in all. Ben McPhee, playing coach Josh Bowe, Gedd Hommelhoff and centre half-forward Shaun Knott all drilled three majors. The Hawks hit the 200-point mark for the second time in 2018 and had 16 goals to three on the scoreboard by half-time. Playing coach Josh Bowe said it wasn’t an easy task to name just six best players for the BFNL website. “We didn’t have a bad player and we got contributors across the board,” he said. After a couple of promising wins in May the Flat has dropped back to ‘also-rans’ and face the rampaging Strath Storm at Dower Park this weekend. Midfielders Nick Lang and Liam Collins were again in the Roos’ best while Cameron Rinaldi booted three of their six goals.
Kyneton captain Josh Govan is the most underrated layer in the competition according to Tiger coach Luke Beattie. Govan racked up more than 40 touches in the 128-point romp over Castlemaine while key forward Jake Ward and Govan’s fellow midfielder/forward Rhys Magin notched eight goals apiece. “I’d be most surprised if he wasn’t leading our best and fairest. He always wins his touches from effective, contested possessions,” Beattie said about Govan. The Tigers’ win was built around a 12.3 to nil second quarter with livewire small forward Ethan Foreman contributing five goals to the team total overall. Kyneton opened up again in the last term scoring 8.3 to 2.2 to blow the final margin out to more than 120 points. But the Magpies had outscored Kyneton 5.1 to 4.4 in the third term although that was their only bright light on a dismal day at the office. Braidon Blake booted three majors for the Maine.
Strathfieldsaye suffered a double injury scare during their 87-point belting of South Bendigo with champion spearhead Lachlan Sharp and champion ball-winner Kallen Geary injured. Sharp drilled 10 goals for a season tally of 54 before leaving the Tannery Lane oval late in the game with a hamstring twinge. Geary finished the game on the bench with a recurrence of his shoulder troubles. The Storm set up the big win with a six-goals-to-none first 20 minutes of play and went further ahead as the match progressed, leading by more than 10 goals at the last change. Shaun Dwyer, a Queenslander with a rugby union background, did a fine stopping job on South’s Daniel Connors while Shannon Geary and Jake Moorhead controlled the midfield. Joel Swatton and Liam Bartels tried hard for the Bloods with Kaiden Antonowicz nailing four majors for the Red and Whites.
Sandhurst key forward Taylor Strachan put his round seven goalkicking yips behind him as he drove home 10 majors in the Dragons’ 107-point belting of Maryborough. He became the first Hurst player in five years to kick a double figure bag of goals and only the third in the 2000s. Strachan spent most of the day at full-forward with alternating brief stints in the ruck to relieve Tim Martin. The Magpie defence just couldn’t control him. Strachan nailed three goals in the second and third quarters and four in the last. It took Maryborough until the 10-minute mark of the second term to land their first major through Brady Neill while Jack Hayward banged home three majors for the day. Apart from Strachan Sandhurst had fine players in polished half-back Codie Price, Jed Zimmer and skipper Blair Holmes.
Final scores: Eaglehawk 32.15 (207) def. Kang. Flat 6.4 (40), Strathfieldsaye 24.13 (157) def. South Bendigo 10.10 (70), Gisborne 15.5 (95) def. Golden Square 9.12 (66), Kyneton 29.14 (188) def. Castlemaine 9.6 (60) and Sandhurst 24.16 (160) def. Maryborough 7.11 (53).
Top five: Eaglehawk 7 wins, 1 loss, 208.3%, 28 premiership points; Strathfieldsaye 7-1, 197.18%, 28; Kyneton 6-1-1, 26; Golden Square 5-3, 20; Sandhurst 4-4, 145.31% 16.
Sixth: Gisborne 4-4, 128.62%, 16.
Next week, Round 9: Kangaroo Flat v Strath Storm, South Bendigo v Gisborne, Golden Square v Kyneton, Castlemaine v Sandhurst and Maryborough v Eaglehawk.