A look at Bendigo footy, Round 10
Midway through Saturday’s second term in the BFNL match-of-the-round Eaglehawk looked anything but the eventual winner against Strathfieldsaye. Down by 28 points the home side looked ‘gone’. But then an inspired 10-minute burst leading up to the half-time siren yielded four goals and eventually 13 of the final 19 to down the previously unbeaten Storm by 18 points. The Hawks didn’t hit the front until the 11-minute mark of the final stanza thanks to a set shot major to Ben McPhee, but then they were able to maintain the lead until the end. In other games Maryborough won its fourth match – the first time the Magpies have done that in five seasons – and they beat South Bendigo without former AFL forward Stewart Crameri. In the most one-sided clash in the BFNL this season, and the most skewed since 1978, Gisborne held Castlemaine to a single behind while posting 49 scoring shots of their own. Golden Square enjoyed the luxury of placing Victorian Country midfielder Adam ‘Skinny’ Baird in a key forward post against Kyneton and he booted six majors in the Dogs’ 102-point flogging of the Tigers. Sandhurst landed its highest score of the season and its biggest winning margin with a 124-point hiding of Kangaroo Flat at the QEO.
The warning bells must have been sounding for Eaglehawk midway through the second quarter of their Canterbury Park clash with the Storm. Strathfieldsaye was 28 points up without much of a contribution from dynamic spearhead Lachie Sharp and looked to be just about ready to crack the contest wide open. Cue in the Hawks’ revival refrain. They booted the last four goals of the first half and then nailed 13 of the last 19 to dish out 2019’s first loss to Strathfieldsaye. Full-back Oscar Madden played an outstanding game in restricting 70-goal full-forward Sharp to just two majors .
Best afield Gedd Hommelhoff drilled three goals for the Hawks, full-forward Sean Williams added three also while livewire small forward Riley Saunders speared home another two. Centre half-back Bryce Curnow was easily the Storm’s best as he held wily Hawk forward Shaun Knott goalless while in attack Lachlan Gill and Hugh Robertson booted three majors apiece for Strathfieldsaye.
Two of Robertson’s majors came almost identically. He used his bulk and strength at boundary throw-ins to grab the ball and goal during the third quarter.
For the first time in five seasons Maryborough took its winning tally to four games. They edged out South Bendigo in a tight contest at Princes Park and consolidated sixth spot on the ladder, a position they haven’t been as high as since round 13, 2011. South jumped the Pies early and held a three-goal lead at the first change. The Pies bounced back, adding six majors to three, to take a narrow two-point lead into the half-time break. The match became an arm-wrestle in the second half with the Bloods two goals down at three-quarter time: 10.11 to 12.11. Maryborough managed to hold out South in the tense final term and with best-on-ground Matthew Bilton (5 goals) still grabbing some important touches through midfield the Pies clung on. Returning for just his second game in 2019 veteran Brad Wright nailed five goals for South while prolific spearhead Kaiden Antonowicz took his season tally to 36 with four. The big man battle between Callum Crisp (South) and Lachlan Crameri ended up even while Maryborough skipper Coby Perry was back in the midfield full-time after an injury-interrupted first half of 2019.
The other games played out largely to script. I was at the Wade Street oval where Golden Square consolidated third ladder spot with a 102-point spanking of Kyneton, Sandhurst found its scoring mojo by disposing of Kangaroo Flat by an even bigger 124-point margin while Gisborne won the most one-sided contest for 2019 over a hapless Castlemaine. Four Square forwards or on-ballers booted three goals or more against an undermanned Tiger defence: Adam Baird (6), Mitchell Treacy (5), Alex Marklew (4) and Jordan Rosengren (3). Even though Kyneton’s late inclusion, former Hawthorn and North Melbourne forward Nathan Thompson, was in their side the Tigers managed just four goals and only one to Thompson. Additionally the 43-year-old Thompson was yellow-carded and sent off late in the first tem for a mandatory 15-minute ‘spell’ on the bench.
Gisborne restricted Castlemaine to just one scoring shot in the Gardiner Reserve clash. That was a behind posted in the third term after a scoreless first half. At the other end of the oval Patrick McKenna (11 goals) and Jarryd Vernon (6) were in great touch fed by dominant midfielders Ethan Minns (best on ground) and Matt Goodyear while Tim Walsh was supreme in the Dogs’ back half.
Hard-running midfielder Matt Filo was the only Maine Magpie worthy of a mention. In round 18 last year Sandhurst restricted the Maine to just 0.4 (4) and only a miracle goal from inter-league mid Jake O’Brien in round seven this year ensured the Magpies would boot 1.2 (8) against Strathfieldsaye.
Speaking of Sandhurst, the Dragons flattened the Roos at QEO headquarters posting their highest score in 2019. The Dragons bolstered their percentage by close to 18 per cent lifting it from 128.92 to 146.74. Percentage will be vital in the finals race this season and could well separate second to fifth as well as underlining the clubs with the eventual September double chances. The return of Collingwood’s VFL-listed mid Lachlan Tardrew was vital for the Dragons with big man Matt Thornton (4 goals) and returning half-forward Andrew Collins (4) important cogs in the front half.
Busy midfielder-forward Jake McLean continued his excellent recent form and nailed three goals.
Andrew Cussen showed some fire in Kangaroo Flat’s forward line, kicking three of the Roos’ five goals, while Jonathan Lanyon won plenty of the ball once again.
Final scores: Golden Square 19.15 (129) def. Kyneton 4.3 (27), Maryborough 15.11 (101) def. South Bendigo 12.15 (87), Sandhurst 23.18 (156) def. Kang. Flat 5.2 (32), Eaglehawk 14.14 (98) def. Strathfieldsaye 11.14 (80) and Gisborne 29.20 (194) def. Castlemaine 0.1 (1).
Top five: Strathfieldsaye 9 wins, 1 loss, 266.2%, 36 prem. points; Gisborne 8-2, 216.7%, 32; Golden Square 8-2, 178.1%, 32; Eaglehawk 7-3, 154.8%, 28 and Sandhurst 7-3, 146.7, 28.
Sixth: Maryborough 4-6, 16 premiership points.
Goalkickers: Lachlan Sharp (Storm) 2, 78; Patrick McKenna (Gis) 11, 53; Kaiden Antonowicz (South Bgo) 4, 36; Sean Williams (E’hawk) 3, 29 and Matt Thornton (S’hurst) 4, 27.
This Saturday, Round 11: Kyneton vs. Gisborne, Kangaroo Flat vs. G. Square, S’saye vs. Sandhurst, South Bendigo vs. Eaglehawk and C’maine vs. Maryborough.