A look at Bendigo footy, round three…
Maryborough almost landed the upset of the decade when it led reigning premiers Eaglehawk at three-quarter time at Princes Park. With ex-AFL forward Stewart Crameri on fire as he landed seven goals the Magpies had all the momentum going into the final quarter. They led by a single kick enjoying a more accurate conversion rate, but couldn’t withstand the Two Blues’ pressure as the visitors compiled seven goals to three in a see-sawing final quarter. The game was still up for grabs at the 25-minute mark of the concluding stanza but two late goals to Eaglehawk sealed the four premiership points.
In other games Kyneton’s ex-AFL forward Nathan Thompson nailed six goals as the Tigers belted an inaccurate Castlemaine in the BFNL’s Pride Cup day, while an injury-ravaged Sandhurst got home over QEO rivals South Bendigo by 17 points. Out at Dower Park premiership fancies Gisborne trounced home team Kangaroo Flat by 89 points. Not long off Melbourne’s AFL list Pat McKenna booted five goals for the Graveyard Dogs along with teammate Jack Scanlon who also nailed five.
At Tannery Lane Strathfieldsaye bounced back from an early scare to trounce Golden Square by 66 points. The visiting Bulldogs booted five of the first six goals as they attempted to put a dampener on the Storm’s 200th senior game in the Bendigo league. But Strath bounced back, snatched a three-point lead at the first break after a high-scoring opening term and then systematically shredded the Bulldogs in the final three quarters. Lively young forward Fergus Payne booted five goals – four in a memorable third quarter burst – with best afield, Storm midfielder Josh Formosa, nailing three goals along with 2017 Ron Best medallist Lachlan Sharp. Sharp also drilled three majors but he was on and off the bench all match following some solid knocks from Square defenders. Another Lachlan, half-forward Lachlan Gill, contributed three majors also as the Storm added 17 goals to 7 after quarter-time. Storm’s key defender Bryce Curnow was switched early in the game onto the Dogs’ centre half-forward Jayden Burke who had booted two of the Square five first term majors. Curnow shut down Burke for the next three-and-a-half quarters.
Kyneton swamped Castlemaine even though the match was played at the Magpies’ Camp Reserve. In the BFNL’s annual Pride Cup day the Tigers extended their lead at every quarter break on their way to a 65-point victory at the Maine’s Camp Reserve. The Tigers put their first two sluggish starts behind them as they led the Pies 5.5 to 2.5 at quarter-time. Now 41 and with 179 AFL games to his name, Thompson was the Tigers’ prime target in attack as he finished with six majors with on-ballers Rhys Magin and Josh Govan chipping in with a pair apiece. Jake O’Brien was the Maine’s only multiple goalkicker as he landed three with Castlemaine’s losing streak now standing at 20. Harrison Huntley led Kyneton’s back half with last season’s BFNL Rising Star finalist Leyton Chisholm also in the Tigers’ best.
Even though they trailed Maryborough by as much as 28 points during the third quarter Eaglehawk rallied after lemon time to deny Maryborough snatching their second 2019 win. Crameri’s booming left-foot shots set the tone for the Magpies. He landed seven goals without a miss and also spent time in the midfield. Those seven goals were the most by a Maryborough player since Matt Bond also landed seven in 2014 against Kyneton. When Crameri went into an on-ball role Hawks’ prime mover Jesse Collins picked up the Maryborough star. In the Two Blues’ forward line they boasted 10 goalkickers. Reliable Sean Williams drilled four with Jarryd Pertzel adding three. Downcast Maryborough playing coach Ben Lavars said it was “bitterly disappointing not to win the game given we were in front for most of it.” Jayden Templeton landed three goals for the Magpies.
A five-goal-to-one opening term paved the way for Sandhurst to down South Bendigo and claim the Graeme Wright Memorial Cup. The 23-point quarter time advantage was to prove crucial in a game decided by less than three goals. Dragon supporters and coach Ashley Connick were delighted to see their club prevail as early season injuries have ravaged the QEO-based Hurst. To further deplete their ranks ex-Carlton and Richmond winger Andrew Collins was a late withdrawal on match-day with a corked calf. South was only 10 points adrift at half-time but their star goalkicker Kaiden Antonowicz was held to just two majors, a similar total to Mitch Goodwin and ruckman Will Allen. The Hurst had fine players in defensive duo Zac Pallpratt and Josh Hann and forward Will Holt.
Gisborne belted hapless Kangaroo Flat on the Roos’ home deck by one point shy of 15 goals. As they’ve done in other games this season the Roos were competitive in the opening quarter. They were just two goals down at the first change but they went goalless in the second term before landing four in the third. But by that stage Gisborne had posted 16 majors from 27 scoring shots with the margin out to 67 points. Class forwards Scanlon and McKenna had days out as midfielders Brad Bernacki, Matt Goodyear and veteran Shaun Comerford kept pumping the leather inside the 50m arc. One tiny gleam of light for besieged Roo coach Rob Bennett was the fact his side booted eight goals with pacy young winger Lloyd Needs providing plenty of run. The Flat had managed a combined total of just seven in the opening two rounds.
Final scores: Strathfieldsaye 22.11 (143) def. G. Square 12.5 (77), Eaglehawk 17.14 (116) def. Maryborough 15.10 (100), Sandhurst 12.9 (81) def. South Bendigo 9.10 (64), Gisborne 21.16 (142) def. Kang. Flat 8.5 (53) and Kyneton 17.14 (116) def. Castlemaine 6.15 (51).
Top Five: Gisborne 308.2%, 12 prem. points; Strathfieldsaye 183.3%, 12; Sandhurst 124.1%, 8; Eaglehawk 122.3%, 8 and G. Square 119.5%, 8.
Leading goalkickers: Lachlan Sharp (Storm) 3, 15; Patrick McKenna (Gis) 5, 14; Jack Scanlon (Gis) 5, 12; Sean Williams (Eh) 4, 11.
Saturday, Rd. 4: Gisborne v Strathfieldsaye, Golden Square v Sth. Bendigo, Sandhurst v Maryborough, Eaglehawk v Castlemaine and Kyneton v Kangaroo Flat.