BACCHUS MARSH V DARLEY
By Tyler Maher
Bacchus Marsh 21-17 (143) d Darley 10-10 (70)
It is rare that a reigning premier is humbled.
But that is exactly what Bacchus Marsh did to Darley in their Anzac Day round clash at Maddingley Park on Sunday – thumping the Devils by 73 points.
From the first siren the Cobras’ defensive pressure was ferocious, hunting every black and white jumper with an intensity that only dissipated well into the final term when the result was well beyond doubt and players began to drop like flies with bouts of early season cramp.
Alex Del Papa and Cameron Richardson were the instigators for Bacchus Marsh, with the former taking complete control of the first half and the latter lighting up the third term to finish with five and six goals respectively.
Youngster Hamish Coulton, who is quickly becoming as dangerous as his more renowned counterparts, bagged two majors himself in an impressive display.
Darley never seemed to get out of the starting blocks and were second to the football for most of the day.
Luke Delahey provided run off of half back, while Mitch Banner was dangerous all day with three goals, but it was Steve Kennedy who stood up, visibly attempting to drag those around him into the match with varying success throughout the game.
A nine goal to three first quarter set the big victory up for Bacchus Marsh, allowing it to control the tempo of the match and match anything Darley did.
MELTON SOUTH V SEBASTOPOL
Sebastopol 23.11 (149) d Melton South 16.12 (108)
Sebastopol has dispensed Melton South to the bottom of the BFL ladder.
The Burra kicked nine goals in the last quarter to seal a 41-point victory at Melton on Saturday.
Sebastopol coach Shane Snibson said while the Burra had to fight all the way to come-from-behind in its only win last year, this time the players were able to play without pressure the last 15 minutes – knowing they had the premiership points secure. He said it was satisfying to see the team able to play with freedom and enjoy the success.
Snibson said getting a win early in the season was also significant for the players, taking a lot of pressure off.
Sebastopol broke the game open with eight goals in 16 minutes in the last term.
Toby Hutt again impressed in front of goal with six majors, while Marshall Cain was strong in defence. Ruckman James Richards was another to catch the eye in his battle with former Coburg big man Ben Sortino.
NORTH BALLARAT CITY v REDAN
by Michael Hankin
North Ballarat City 14.11 (95) d Redan 13.15 (93)
North Ballarat City made it two from two at Eureka Stadium on Saturday to ensure the heat remains fairly and squarely on Redan in the Ballarat Football League
City got across the line by two points to leave Redan without a win, although the Lions have met two of the competition’s powers in the opening weeks.
So while North Ballarat takes a break with a bye next round, Redan will be looking for a reprieve against the winless Melton South.
Redan coach Eammon Gill was naturally disappointed with the loss – lamenting a poor poor start which left his side clearly behind the eight-ball.
Last year’s runners-up started strongly by kicking the first four goals with the assistance of a strong breeze blowing to the Creswick Road end of the newly aligned ground.
It was this start that gave North City the upper hand all day, with the home side enjoying leads of 22, 14 and seven points at each of the breaks.
“For a young side, North City ran the ball really well in the first quarter when the game was there to be won,” Gill said.
“We gave them too much space on the outside and they were able to put it on the scoreboard. When we did have the ball, we were put under enormous pressure early, so full credit to North.
“We did fight back, but the reality is that the damage had already been done,” Gill said.
North City coach Jordyn Burke highlighted his side’s ball use had been an area that he wanted to improve on from previous week’s win over East Point.
“Our disposal was certainly an issue that we wanted to work on during the week, it was still a bit sloppy in parts but overall it was an improvement.
“We want as a side to use our pace a bit more, but it’s no good using our pace if we can’t hit targets.”
Burke was also full of praise for key forward Mitch Johns, who has followed the coach from the Wimmera Football League to the BFL and kicked six goals, and the effect he has had in the first two rounds.
“He has competed well, played his role, pushed up the ground when he has needed to and converted some good goals. That can be the difference at the end of the day.”
Johns has added a new dimension to North City and he was clearly a best on ground.
The ever reliable Simon McCartin was at his best in the midfield, with Jarryd Graham and Martin Curtis also impressing.
While Redan were there abouts in the contest after quarter time, it was plain to see the importance of not giving sides four-goal head starts, particularly in the blustery conditions that proved to be difficult at times for both sides.
With the match hanging in the balance midway through the last quarter, Redan still had multiple chances to hit the front. The last few minutes was a desperate scramble with each team out on its feet.
BALLARAT V EAST POINT
By David Brehaut
Ballarat 12.11 (83) d East Point 9.20 (74)
BALLARAT is shaping up as a potential surprise packet in the Ballarat Football League.
The Swans remain unbeaten after shading East Point by nine points at the refurbished Alfredton Oval on Saturday night – the first match under lights at the venue.
While it is the perfect start for the Ash Baker-led Swans, it is a much different story for East Point coach Glenn Wilkins and his charges.
They are without a win after two rounds – hardly the start East Point needed as it strives to improve on its fifth of last season.
The Kangaroos had their chances with the teams evenly matched, but paid the price after being unable to capitalise in front of goal.
Tom Stapleton led from the front for Ballarat in a no-nonsense hard at it performance.
His workload increased significantly after the Swans lost on-baller Brad McDonald to a back injury after he landed heavily in a tackle outside the boundary line just five minutes into the game
The vice-captain was swung from his role across half back into the midfield rotation.
McDonald, who was taken to hospital for scans, had set the Swans alight with the opening goal on two minutes, but that was all the action he would see.
While Ballarat held sway on the scoreboard for the first half – jumping away by 17 points in the first quarter – there was never too much between the combatants.
So when Paul Koderenko goaled one minute into the third quarter to put East Point in front it was game on.
The game looked to swinging the Kangaroos’ way when Keegan Mellington, in his first senior appearance since breaking a leg early last season, snapped a goal just shy of three quarter time to open up a 12-point break.
Ballarat responded and while East Point added six behinds it took the game away with five goals.
Baker said the Swans had been determined to apply pressure from the outset and they had delivered.
He was full of praise for his backline in keeping the pressure on the Kangaroos.
Although bigger tests still await Ballarat, Baker said back-to-back wins was great for the confidence of a young, inexperienced team for which the focus this year was to get games under its belt.
It was a similar scenario for East Point to the previous week, when it lost to North Ballarat City after matching it everywhere but on the scoreboard.
East coach Glenn Wilkins said the Swans had been rewarded for being more patient and running harder.
SUNBURY V MELTON
Sunbury 9.16 (70) d Melton 8.8 (56)
SUNBURY fought off a determined Melton to get its season going in the BFL at Sunbury on Saturday night.
Despite being kept goalless in the first half, the Bloods made the most of Sunbury’s inaccuracy to close within a kick late.
It took a couple of goals from Mathew Medcraft to steady the Lions.
Nathan Bridgland has come out firing this season and was once again a spark for Sunbury.
Josh Burgess was another of the Lions’ better players, while Melton was best served by Jake Gleeson, Jack and Dillon Sharp.
Melton showed enough to suggest it will be much more competitive this year, given that in their last meeting Sunbury won by 71 points.
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