North City upset blows open premiership race

North Ballarat City's Ayden George. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

North Ballarat City's Ayden George. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

THE Ballarat Football League premiership race has been blown wide open after Sunbury sensationally beat undefeated North Ballarat City on Saturday.

On a day when second-placed Redan also dropped just its second game for the year, it was Sunbury that achieved what many people thought might never happen – conquering the reigning premiers.

In the long-awaited grand final rematch, it was the eastern Lions that inflicted what could end up being the biggest upset of the BFL season, winning by 21 points.

Sunbury coach Rick Horwood said it was a massive result for the club, but he denied it served as any sort of revenge for last year’s grand final loss at the hands of North City.

The Lions sit in fourth position on the ladder but for the first time in their 18-year BFL history, are facing a genuine challenge just to qualify for finals after losing the vast majority of its playing list over the off-season.

“It’s pleasing for the club because of all the pre-season hype that we were going to be no good and stuff like that, that we were going to get blown out of the water,” Horwood said.

“It’s always nice to beat the reigning premiers. It’s so pleasing on a big day like this for the club.”

In another upset for the day, Redan lost just its second match for the year, conceding two late goals to go down against Darley, adding a further twist to the season.

The results topped off a dramatic day in the BFL, with Bacchus Marsh coach Cam Richardson taken off the ground in an ambulance in the final quarter of the Cobras match against East Point.

The match was delayed by more than 20 minutes as Richardson lay motionless on the Maddingley Park surface, waiting for the ambulance with fears of possible neck injury. He was taken to hospital on Saturday, but Bacchus Marsh president Pat Mullen said initial scans had cleared him of major injury.

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