Dragons rocket back up the ladder and into five by Richard Jones

A look at Bendigo footy’s 11th round

Sandhurst leap-frogged Gisborne and regained fifth spot on the Bendigo Football and Netball League ladder after belting South Bendigo by 63 points. In front of a hardy bunch of Bloods’ veteran life members attending their annual lunch – who spent a miserable afternoon – the Dragons ensured their day wouldn’t be memorable by banging home eight goals to one in the opening term. South had no one up forward to kick goals. Main go-to man Kaiden Antonowicz was well held by Sandhurst defender Josh Hann and kicked 2.4 (one poster) for the day. Former Richmond AFL player Daniel Connors nailed four goals for the Hurst, three of them in the opening seven minutes of the first quarter. Other Round 11 results went largely to script. Eaglehawk fell just shy of their second 200-point score against Castlemaine this season and won by a massive 166 points while Kyneton creamed visiting Kangaroo Flat by 121 points. Top team Strathfieldsaye caned Gisborne by 75 points, a result which tossed the Gardiner Reserve Dogs out of the Five, while Golden Square made the most of a trip to Maryborough by scooting home to a 109-point victory.

SandhurstDragonsSandhurst’s effort was the real discussion point around Bendigo on Saturday night. Smarting for seven days after sitting out of the top group of teams the Dragons had ace midfielders in coach Andrew Collins (39 possessions) and Zeb Broadbent (38) in superlative touch. Collins booted three goals – including Hurst’s only two in the third term – and had a hand in many others. Broadbent nailed a first term major and roamed the field racking up possessions from half-back across midfield and then deep into the Hurst forward zone. Hann and Codie Price controlled the Dragons’ defence as they restricted the Bloods to just seven goals for an entire afternoon’s work. Isaiah Miller and Daniel Nalder were South’s best with the finals now looking completely out of the Bloods’ reach.

eaglehawkeFirst gamer Sam Dean made a debut to remember with Eaglehawk by booting six of the Two Blues’ 29 majors. He was pipped for the home side’s best tally against cellar dweller Castlemaine by key forward Sean Williams. Williams booted nine – a career best in four seasons at Canterbury Park –although the Hawks’ victory was soured by a knee injury to veteran full-forward Matt Gretgrix. Eaglehawk’s dominance was started in midfield by ruckman Jack Lawton who got first hands to the ball regularly with Riley McIvor, Ben McPhee and Jesse Collins feeding off Lawton’s taps. Sam Thompson was a dashing half-back rebounder with only Jesse Johnson a marking target inside 50m for the Maine. He booted 2.4 which equated to six of Castlemaine’s nine scoring shots for the day.

goldenGolden Square disposed of Maryborough at Princes Park by 109 points and just as importantly got through a match without incurring further injuries. The Dogs landed six goals to nil in the opening quarter and then 9.4 to two goals in the last. Coach Bernie Haberman said he thought the Square’s first and last quarters were really professional although he wasn’t overly happy with the middle two quarters. Ruckman Matt Compston dominated for Square with Jack Geary (2 goals) and Adam Baird (4) carving through the Magpies’ attempts at tackling. Key forwards Dylan Johnstone (4 goals) and Jayden Burke (5) nailed nine goals between them while teenager Lachlan Bond was named Maryborough’s best.

KynetonTigersKyneton consolidated third spot on the BFNL ladder with a 121-point thrashing of Kangaroo Flat at the Showgrounds. The Roos had managed to keep the margin to 60 points by the last change. Then the Tigers blasted home 12 goals to two in a one-way traffic cakewalk. It was the third time in eight quarters during the 2018 season that the Tigers have booted more than 10 goals in a quarter against the Roos. Star on-baller Rhys Magin booted seven goals to be best afield with co-midfielder Tommy O’Sullivan bobbing up with five while defender Harrison Huntley and skipper Josh Govan continued their great form. Liam Collins drilled three of the Flat’s seven goals and was named the Roos’ best for the fourth time in the past eight weeks. The Flat’s only pair of wins this season have come against the bottom two: Maryborough and Castlemaine.

StrathstormStrathfieldsaye hit the magic winning streak of 10 on Saturday by disposing of the in-form Gisborne at the Gardiner Reserve. The 75-point drubbing was the Dogs’ biggest loss for the season and additionally they managed just five goals for an afternoon’s work. The Storm held Gisborne to just two first half goals while banging home nine themselves and then added 8.8 to 3.3 in the concluding two quarters. The victory didn’t come without problems, though. Key forward Hugh Robertson (knee) and utility Shaun Dwyer (hamstring) were both on the bench before half-time. That meant that playing coach Troy Coates (4), Josh Formosa (3) and Bryce Curnow (3) had to step up in the goal-kicking stakes and they didn’t falter. Gisborne had injury worries also. Veteran defender Anthony Belcher (collarbone) didn’t continue in the second half while key defender Jack Reaper and VFL-listed Darrean Wyatt managed to play out the game despite carrying injuries.

Scores: Sandhurst 16.18 (114) def. South Bendigo 7.9 (51), Golden Square 23.10 (148) def. Maryborough 5.9 (39), Kyneton 25.18 (168) def. Kang. Flat 7.5 (47), Strathfieldsaye 17.11 (113) def. Gisborne 5.8 (38) and Eaglehawk 29.21 (195) def. Castlemaine 4.5 (29).

Top Five: Strathfieldsaye 10 wins, 1 loss, 40 premiership points; Eaglehawk 9-2, 36; Kyneton 8 wins, 1 draw, 2 losses, 34; Golden Square 8-3, 32; Sandhurst 6-5, 24.

July 7th, general bye.

Round 12, July 14th: Strathfieldsaye v Kyneton, Kangaroo Flat v Sandhurst, South Bendigo v Maryborough (Harry Trott oval), Golden Square v Castlemaine and Gisborne v Eaglehawk.

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