BUNINYONG took the four points on Saturday against Beaufort but it was not a classy win and it was not comfortable.
The Crows threatened to cause an upset all day as they harried and bamboozled an often careless and out of sorts Bomber side.
Buninyong kept its cool in the last half to post an 11-point win at Beaufort.
The Crows had taken the early lead in the match but the Bombers clawed their way back after goals from Anthony Ebery, Glen Phelps and Samuel Turner in the first quarter to lead the first term by seven points.
Beaufort came out running hot in the second stanza and hit the front in the first six minutes, before the lead changed five times after that with the Bombers eventually holding a two-point buffer at half-time.
Inspiring goals from Ashley George and Patrick Gleeson stung the Crows into action in the second half.
Scores were level less than two minutes into the third quarter but Bomber pressure clamped down the Crows forward attack and gradually Buninyong eked out a modest 12-point lead going into the last term.
Ten minutes into the last Beaufort had their tails up, trailing by just four points, but the glimmer of hope of an upset was extinguished by a goal to Bombers’ big man Ebery.
The Crows kicked 1.3 to the Bombers 1.2 in the finale.
Buninyong hung in there because of tough nuts like Nicholas Avery, Mark Phelps, Tyler Dittloff and Jarrod Rodgers.
And for Beaufort defenders like Damien Day and Julian Cameron, midfielders Tom Blackford and Brock Egan stood tall.
Crows co-coach and onfield general Louie Franc and gun midfielder Aaron Bones as well as Bombers midfielder Darcy Donelly and Joel Kitchen were late withdrawals.
In the change rooms after the clash Bombers’ coach Joe Gilbert said he had nothing to say and it was up to assistant Bernie Nevins to shed some light on the performance.
“We didn’t play our best footy but we got the result and the four points, that’s the most important thing,” Nevins said.
“We’ve got a lot of improvement to do,” he said. “It’s always good to beat a side that’s been in the finals for the past two or three years.
“We’re not playing anywhere near our best and we just can’t take any sides for granted,” Nevins said.
“It’s going to be a very even competition this year.”
Nevins said the big bonus of the day was where the Bombers now stood on the ladder — third behind Hepburn and the unbeaten Waubra.
Beaufort co-coach Nick Franc said some older players were out of the team and some younger ones had stepped up but lacked the poise at the end of the game.
“We stuck to it really well,” he said. “We gave away a lot of size. They are a lot bigger physically but our guys stuck really well to the end.
“Skill errors probably cost us but we’ve got some really good onballers who play a good, hard game for us,” Franc said.
Buninyong 8.12 (60)
Beaufort 7.7 (49)