Buninyong 21.13 (139) d Carngham-Linton 6.7 (43)
By Tim O'Connor
A bumper crowd turned out at Snake Valley to see the Essendon contingent represent Carngham-Linton, but it wasn't the fairy tale result Saints supporters had hoped for.
Buninyong showcased its class in a brilliant 96-point win, which has lifted the team to seventh on the Central Highlands Football League ladder.
With the services of former club junior and current Essendon VFL captain Nick O'Brien and ex-Bombers player Jason Winderlich in the side, the Saints appeared to play on adrenaline in the opening term and trailed by just six points at the first change.
But from there it proved mostly one-way traffic as Buninyong produced scintillating ball movement to run away with the victory.
Jake Dunne put on a clinic up forward for the Bombers. He took a stack of marks and booted five goals to be arguably the most dominant player on the ground. Dunne got plenty of assistance from fellow forward Jarrod Rodgers (three goals) and defender Jack Robertson, who was a dashing figure out of the backline all afternoon.
Nick O'Brien (one goal) collected plenty of possession in the Saints' midfield and proved far more influential than Winderlich, who started forward and then went back when the visitors started to gain control of the game.
Justin O'Brien began brilliantly in defence and went forward later in the match, Dean O'Brien kicked two goals in a lively performance, while Brodie Doolan, Beau Ketchen and Tom Sarah were others to find their place in the Carngham-Linton best.
As expected, Essendon great Dustin Fletcher didn't pull on the boots, but formed part of the Saints' coaching panel throughout the game.
Buninyong coach Jarrod Morgan has been battling a sternum injury in recent weeks and was a surprise inclusion into the team on Saturday.
He came in for Fraser Russell, who was a late withdrawal due to a calf issue.
“We moved the ball well and it was another step in the right direction,” Morgan said.
Nick O’Brien said it was an enjoyable day despite not getting the result he wanted.
“It was great fun. Naturally this week we wanted to be really competitive and I thought we were for the first half, but Buninyong are a fantastic side and the way that they moved the ball was at a really high level,” he said.
“It was disappointing to lose by that margin, but to see such a big crowd and especially a lot of kids come out was something that we were really happy with.”
Hepburn 12.6 (78) d Waubra 9.12 (66)
By John McGregor
Hepburn snatched a two-goal win against Waubra after a no-holds-barred final quarter on Saturday.
The Burras arm-wrestled their way to a five-point lead at quarter time and then steamrolled to a 21-point buffer at the main break.
That slow start was alarmingly similar to the week before against Beaufort, but Waubra had fans on the edge of their seats in the third term.
Out of nowhere, the Roos hit their targets and sailed past the Burras.
Waubra had scored in less than a minute when Lincoln Barnes snapped a goal. Austin Murphy joined the party with two majors and Will Booth booted a single.
But it was a huge kick from Jackson Kinna that had the home crowd on its feet. It rocketed into the heavens from outside the 50 metre line and through the big sticks.
At the final change, Waubra had seized the lead and was seven points up.
Both teams went toe-to-toe in the final term and the scores were level at the 14-minute mark.
A snap from Jackson Hogan put the Burras in the lead and a cheeky goal from Brad McKay sealed the deal.
Waubra had more scoring shots, but was left to rue the one that got away.
Both sides were hard at the ball and gave no quarter, but Hepburn showed a lot of determination to get the job done.
Andy McKay was a constant thorn in the side of Waubra and kicked four majors. Hogan booted two, while Joe Clarke, Jacob Brown, Jimmy Rodgers, Aron Burns, Brad McKay and Kamen Ogilvie had singles.
Segifili Asa Leausa and Finn Anscombe were good down back, while Mitch McKay, Michael Watt and ruckman Tom Godsell were on top of their game.
Waubra’s Murphy was busy around the goals and booted three, Kinna and Booth had two each, while Barnes and Joshua Doggett managed singles.
Billy Douglass was the best player on the ground for the Roos and not far behind him was Barnes.
Barnes paid the price for his courage and was helped from the ground with a gash to his forehead in the last minutes of the game.
Nick Aringo, Nick Dinsdale, Ben Wilson and Geordie Lukich bobbed up everywhere.
“Both sides had a fair dinkum crack,” Hepburn coach Jason Olver said.
“We were in front at the final siren. We were lucky.”
Waubra assistant coach Matt James said his team “didn’t really get the job done.”
Hepburn has climbed into the top four as a result of Saturday’s triumph, which is its seventh in succession.
Waubra has now lost three of its past five fixtures and finds itself in eighth place on the ladder after the opening 10 rounds of season 2017.
Beaufort 25.10 (160) d Rokewood-Corindhap 5.3 (33)
By Tim O'Connor
Beaufort forward Lachlan Murray booted a bag of eight goals in his side’s thrashing of Rokewood-Corindhap on Saturday afternoon.
Murray was named one of the Crows’ best alongside midfielder Tom Stapleton, who booted three goals in the 127-point drubbing at Rokewood.
For the Grasshoppers, veteran onballer Sam Chapman was named the team’s standout contributor.
Daylesford 13.13 (91) d Learmonth 9.9 (63)
By Tim O'Connor
Daylesford is within percentage of a spot in the top eight after an important win over Learmonth on Saturday.
The Bulldogs proved too good for the Lakies and kicked away late in the match to record a 28-point victory.
Lakies player Matt Jackson was placed on report and subsequently accepted a one-match set penalty for rough conduct against Daylesford forward Jack Nulty. Bulldogs coach Marcus Goonan said Nulty was left unconscious after the incident.
Luke Carland kicked four goals to be named best for the winners ahead of Zac Tisdale.
Learmonth, which has slipped to sixth on the ladder, was best served by midfielders Brenton Powell and Kyle Mackay.
Gordon 31.15 (201) d Clunes 8.6 (54)
By Tim O'Connor
Gordon continued to breeze through an easy stretch in its season with a huge victory against Clunes.
The Eagles never gave the Magpies a sniff of success on Saturday afternoon, kicking big scores in every quarter on their way to a 147-point triumph.
Ash Munari maintained his exceptional run of form in attack with a seven-goal performance, while Chris McGuigan returned to the Gordon team with five majors.
Khyal Thompson, Jesse Baird and Paul Coon were named the best for the home side.
Dunnstown 17.20 (122) d Skipton 5.9 (39)
By Tim O'Connor
Dunnstown endured a difficult start to its 2017 Central Highlands Football League campaign, but has started to build some momentum after landing a second successive victory.
The Towners, which went the opening eight rounds without a win, backed up their maiden success against Rokewood-Corindhap with a big triumph over battlers Skipton on Saturday.
Despite sitting alongside the Emus at the foot of the ladder, Dunnstown was warm favourites to secure the points and didn’t disappoint.
The Towners took a little while to get rolling, but skipped clear of the home side in every quarter to claim the 83-point win.
Thomas Botter booted six majors and Harry McKimmie four for the winners, with Michael Archer and Joe Stefani among the other standouts.
The result means a ninth-straight loss for the Emus, which rated Adam Romey, Rick Henricksen and Nathan Fenby as the better players on the day. Henricksen and Mitchell Weadley kicked two goals each for the hosts.
Dunnstown, which still remains in 16th position on the ladder, can chalk up a third-straight victory when it meets Creswick next weekend, while Skipton is last on the table and has a tough assignment against Beaufort in round 11.
Springbank 16.14 (110) d Newlyn 6.4 (40)
By Tim O'Connor
Springbank had little trouble bouncing back to winning ways on Saturday at Newlyn.
The Tigers suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of Hepburn in round nine, but brushed aside the Cats to claim victory by 70 points.
Springbank coach Michael Searl kicked a game-high three goals and rated winger Tyler George as the clear standout player on the day for his side.
Creswick 7.10 (52) drew with Ballan 7.10 (52)
By Tim O'Connor
Creswick and Ballan played out the first draw since 2015 in a low-scoring battle on Saturday.
The two teams couldn’t be separated after four quarters of football at Creswick’s Doug Lindsay Reserve, with the Blues fighting back from a half time deficit to lead by 12 points at the final change.
The Wickers regained the lead in the fourth term before Ballan’s Darren Tanti kicked the last goal of the day to tie the scores shortly before the final siren.
Wickers player Darrien Mann was reported and accepted a two-week suspension for intentionally striking opponent Sam Sher.
Blues coach Jason McNamara said wingers Jake Wilkie and Bradie Thomas and Tanti were his side’s best, while the Wickers were led by Hepworth brothers Liam and Caleb.
Leading goal-kickers were Wilkie and Tanti for Ballan with two each and Brett Hagen for Creswick with three.