A BLISTERING second quarter has propelled Central Highlands Football League to victory over Loddon Valley and a third-straight country championships success.
The Highlanders turned a quarter-time deficit into a commanding 38-point lead by half time and held a significant advantage for the remainder of the match to win by 52 points at Bungaree on Saturday afternoon.
Both teams will look at the second term as a turning point in the contest. The Highlanders banged on seven goals to zero in a clinical display of football, which saw the onball brigade dictate terms to allow the tall timber up forward to capitalise on a string of inside 50m entries.
Tom Eltringham (five goals) was the beneficiary of good service in attack and was well assisted by fellow tall forwards Will Young (two goals), Brendan Sutcliffe (three goals) and Shaun Finlayson.
But it was around the ground that set up the home side's victory, with best on ground medal winner Chris O'Keefe (two goals), Nathan Pring (two goals), Sam Turner (three goals), Tyrone Ross (one goal) and Jarrod Morgan amongst a host of significant contributors for the winners.
Central Highlands celebrated the triumph by singing its own version of Carlton's theme song in the rooms after the match.
Senior coach Greg Middleton said his team had a similar number of inside 50m entries in the first and second terms, but capitalised much better after quarter time.
"Once we adjusted and got on top and got the momentum, we worked really well in the second quarter," Middleton said.
"It was just about adjusting to the tempo and once we did that I thought we used the footy a lot better going forward. Our decision making got better and that gave the forwards better opportunity to take those marks."
Loddon Valley joint coach Damien Featherby also pin-pointed the second quarter as a costly one for his side, which failed to boot a goal from late in the first term until mid-way through the third.
"They probably used the ball better than us, especially through that second quarter. They just really ran and linked up beautifully. They trusted one another when they got the ball," he said.
"It's disappointing to lose, but we were pleased with the effort from the boys."
Forwards Zac East and Paul Grayling kicked three goals each in solid displays for the visitors, while winger/half forward Glen Scholtes, onballer Adam Parry and full back Daniel Nalder were amongst the best for Loddon Valley. The LVFL best on ground medallist was Rhys Ford.