Square wins Bendigo’s Battle of the Bulldogs by Richard Jones

A look at round nine in the Bendigo footy league…

goldenGolden Square strangled their Bulldog namesakes from Gisborne to cement their hold on third ladder spot on Saturday. The Gardiner Reserve Dogs managed just 1.3 (9) in the first half in a low-scoring struggle dominated by the defences. Square, meantime, had landed 4.5 (29) to take a 20-point lead into the half-time break and then added another four goals to three in the excruciating second half. In other half-way point-of-the-season games Strathfieldsaye’s goal-kicking wizard Lachlan Sharp landed a staggering 16 majors at Maryborough to give him 76 for the season while Eaglehawk slaughtered Kangaroo Flat by 93 points at Canterbury Park. Sandhurst needed a third quarter surge of six goals to shake-off a hard-tackling and hard running Kyneton and South Bendigo, with Kaiden Antonowicz slotting seven majors,  accounted for cellar dweller Castlemaine by 97 points.

Maryborough‘s home game against the Storm was marked by an outstanding achievement from a Magpie player. Cameron Skinner, 43, played his 400th club match for the Princes Park Pies. A member of Maryborough’s outstanding senior premiership sides in 1998 and 1999 he booted two of the Magpies’ six goals against the Storm and was named in the club’s best half-dozen. A former running half-back the long-kicking Skinner, who played in 57 Reserve grade losses in a row in recent seasons, is now stationed in the senior’s forward 50. While Skinner was going about his business at the other end of the park Sharp was closing in on an another 100-goal season and an 86-year-old BFL record. Not since 1933 when Eaglehawk’s Frank Crapper booted 154 majors in the home and away rounds has that particular record been broken. However, the BFNL record for most goals in a single game is 24. That benchmark is shared by Dave Mahoney (Bendigo City) who banged through two dozen just before World War 1. Eaglehawk’s Harry Morgan equalled the feat in 1953 although his 24 against Rochester came in just three quarters. Morgan sat out the game on the bench.

With Pat McCarthy (three majors) in great touch as the spearhead Kyneton trailed Sandhurst at the QEO by just a goal as the half-time siren sounded. The unfancied Tigers were right in the contest thanks to mids Rhys Magin and Hamish Govan with Darcy Harris on top in the ruck. But after the break the Dragons kicked the first six goals of the third term. Liam Ireland and Isaac Ruff shut down the Kyneton attack with Nick Stagg (four goals for the day), Jake McLean (three) and Joel Wharton (three) on fire inside 50. The one-goal half-time margin had been extended to 33 points by the last change. Following the victory the Dragons maintained their position in the Five although their percentage could have been bolstered with a bigger win as the Tigers outscored them 4.1 to 3.2 in the final stanza.

Golden Square’s renowned defensive structure restricted second-placed Gisborne to a meagre four goals in the match-of-the-day. The Graveyard Dogs had a miserable 1.3 on the scoreboard at half-time. They added a meagre 3.5 in the second half. Square coach moved Liam Barrett out of the midfield for this game to take on the key defensive role on Gisborne’s Pat McKenna. He held the dangerous full-forward to just a single major, scored from a grubber kick along the ground in the third term. And Will Lee held big Jack Scanlon to a single goal also. Square’s three goals in the opening term were to prove pivotal with the home team’s Sam Brinsmead the only multiple goalkicker on the Wade Street oval. His tally was just two.To add to Gisborne’s woes playing coach Clinton Young was reported and yellow carded late in the second term after colliding into the back of Square playmaker Adam ‘Skinny’ Baird.

Eaglehawk belted Kangaroo Flat at Canterbury Park, consigning the Roos to second last spot on the senior ladder. It was all over as a contest by half-time with the Hawks leading 9.13 to 3.5 before the home side added another 13 goals to five in the run home. Sean Williams and Riley Saunders nailed six majors each for the home club while pacy winger Gedd Hommelhoff added three. The Roos, as per their past few matches, were competitive in the first term. They trailed 2.3 to 3.7. Then the Hawks added 16 goals to a pair from the Flat in the two middle terms to shoot away to a massive 100-point lead at three-quarter time. Cameron McGlashan in the ruck or in a key position was the Hawks’ best with midfield ace Jesse Collins, Saunders and Sam Harper also in the home side’s top few. The Flat’s reliable on-baller Jono Lanyon was the Flat’s best while Nathan McHugh and Liam Collins were also serviceable.

Full-forward Kaiden Antonowicz was in fine touch for South Bendigo as the Bloods hammered winless Castlemaine by a touch more than 16 goals. A return of seven goals from the 2018 Ron Best medallist is a great haul even if over-shadowed on the day by Sharp’s 16 at Maryborough. But least South broke their seven-game losing streak with Tom Brereton, playing coach Nathan Horbury and Mitch Goodwin (three goals) in their best. The struggling Maine Magpies were best served by Matt Filo (son of co-coach Shawn Filo) with AFL recruit Angus Monfries in the backline this week trying his best to hold South out.


Final scores: Strathfieldsaye 29.16 (190) def. Maryborough 6.10 (46), Sandhurst 14.11 (95) def. Kyneton 10.7 (67), Golden Square 8.16 (64) def. Gisborne 4.8 (32), South Bendigo 21.24 (150) def. Castlemaine 7.11 (53) and Eaglehawk 22.19 (151) def. Kangaroo Flat 8.10 (58).

Top Five: Strath Storm 9 wins, 0 losses, 308.6%,

36 prem. points; Gisborne 7-2, 183.5%, 28; G. Square 7-2, 164.01%, 28; Eaglehawk 6-3 158.9%, 24 and Sandhurst 6-3, 128.9%, 24.

Leading goalkickers: Lachlan Sharp (S’saye), 16, 76; Patrick McKenna (Gisborne) 1, 42; Kaiden Antonowicz (South Bendigo) 7, 32; Sean Williams (Eaglehawk) 6, 26.

Round 10, all Saturday: Gisborne vs. Castlemaine, Sandhurst vs. Kang. Flat, Golden Square vs. Kyneton, Eaglehawk vs. Strathfieldsaye [match-of-the-round] and Maryborough vs. South Bendigo.


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