Bungaree 15.8 (98) d Learmonth 6.7 (43)
By Tim O'Connor
BUNGAREE had little trouble accounting for Learmonth to keep its unbeaten start to 2016 in tact.
The Demons secured a 55-point victory against the Lakies on home soil, with forward duo Christian Elliott (six goals) and Luke Mirtschin (five goals) on song in attack.
Jason Linke was important off half back and David Benson good in the ruck, while the Lakies were
best served by coach Brenton Powell, but lost onballer Nathan Bond to a broken jaw.
Daylesford 17.11 (113) d Creswick 9.10 (64)
By Tim O'Connor
NEW Daylesford coach Marcus Goonan was celebrating his first win since joining the club after his side outclassed Creswick on Saturday afternoon.
The Bulldogs broke clear of the hosts with a few late goals in the second term and then held the Wickers at arm’s length before charging clear in the last quarter to win by 49 points.
North Ballarat Roosters-listed onballer Joel Cowan was back for his first game with Daylesford this season and was instrumental, while Michael and Ken Cummings booted six goals between them.
Aaron Hepworth was named the Wickers’ best for his display in the middle, while Zach Lubeek was good before leaving the field with a leg injury.
Springbank 14.12 (96) d Hepburn 9.7 (61)
By Scot Nicholson
PAUL McMahon converted five goals and made it look easy as he steered Springbank to an impressive 35-point victory over Hepburn on Saturday.
The 14.12 (96) to 9.7 (61) triumph sees the Tigers send out a message to the rest of the competition that they are a serious contender for back-to-back premierships.
Everything was to play for at the end of the first term, as scores were level thanks to both sides trading goals from undisciplined free kicks.
Springbank gained a three-goal advantage by half time, and from that point onwards, it was the midfield class of the Tigers that took control.
Nicholas Couch, Tim Malone and Joel Maher dominated the centre clearances and set plays to show why they could be the best onball combination in the Central Highlands Football League.
During the second half, the Burras’ defence tried everything from double to triple-teaming the tall forward target of McMahon, but nothing could stop him from stamping his dominance on the game.
This level of attention created space for Billy Driscoll to collect crucial possessions, which resulted in two majors and opportunities for his teammates.
A delayed comeback looked possible during the final term for Hepburn as Lachlan Calder kicked consecutive goals from challenging angles, but it wasn’t to be as time expired minutes later.
Springbank joint-coach Michael Searl, who kicked two goals during the contest, said he was impressed with the style of football his squad is playing.
“That was our best game of the season so far. In our first couple of games we were starting to find the rhythm, we put plans in place to continue to improve each week and today was another step in the right direction,” Searl said.
“You can never underestimate Hepburn, but we really tried hard to put pressure on the ball carrier in the third quarter, which led to us spreading the ball across the ground effectively, which was sensational.”
The win now sees the Tigers in seventh place on the ladder, while currently holding a 3-1 regular season record.
Hepburn coach Jason Olver said his team committed far too many basic errors.
“It was a really bad day at the office,” Olver said.
“The amount of turnovers we had hurt us badly and we made poor decisions at pivotal times.”
Young Burras player Finn Anscombe contributed well under difficult circumstances in defence, while Andy McKay worked hard all over the field and managed to kick a goal.
Lee Cox returned to the side from a hamstring injury and was the leading scorer for the losers, kicking three goals.
Buninyong 25.17 (167) d Newlyn 4.7 (31)
By Tim O'Connor
NEWLYN was ravaged by injuries in a day to forget at Buninyong.
The Cats lost key figures Alex Bartlett (ankle), Sean Massey (shoulder), Jesse Thurlow-Cole (hip) and Josh Barker (knee) in the first half before Will Young dislocated a finger late in the game.
In the end, the Bombers cruised to a 136-point victory at home, with Joel Ottavi booting six goals to be among the best alongside Sam Turner, who kicked four.
A total of 13 players got their name on the scoresheet for the hosts, which bounced back from the disappointing loss to Springbank in good fashion.
Bombers joint-coach Jarrod Morgan described the performance as Buninyong’s best in 2016.
Beaufort 26.12 (168) d Skipton 5.4 (34)
By Tim O'Connor
BEAUFORT was at its dominant best against Skipton on Saturday.
The Crows controlled the clash during the opening three terms before the Emus fought back and outscored the home side in the last quarter.
In the end, however, it was a 134-point win to the Beaufort boys, which remain unbeaten.
Livewire Jack Duke kicked seven goals to be one of the best for the winners, while Tom Breed booted two for Skipton.
Waubra 7.10 (52) d Dunnstown 5.7 (37)
By David Bilbrough
NO MORE than three goals separated Dunnstown and Waubra throughout Saturday's game, with the Roos grinding out a 15-point away victory to remain undefeated and atop the Central Highlands Football League ladder.
Waubra's fourth-straight win was well earned.
“It was a hard fought game and it was contested footy all day,” a satisfied Roos coach Grant Luscombe said.
“With every contest it felt like a final. We knew coming into the game it wasn't going to be a shootout, that's for sure, so it was really good to get the job done.”
The scene was set for a tough day at the office in a first term which produced just one goal apiece.
Dunnstown's Angus Thomson bagged the first at the five-minute mark, while Waubra missed three times before centre half forward Dean Robertson marked strongly and converted after 20 minutes.
The Towners moved the ball well into the forward line in second term, with goals to Peter McGettigan and Rhys Cahir giving the hosts a slender lead mid-way through the quarter.
Aaron Brennan was proving a handful for the Roos, as was interleague squad member Sam Jenkins, who was in everything.
With goals as rare as a Collingwood victory, Ash Ballinger's two second-term majors were invaluable for the Roos, propelling the visitors to a seven-point lead on the hour mark.
Lincoln Barnes' class was evident around the packs, while the run and carry from Tom Nash and Matt Dawson pressured the Towners’ defence.
Just seven points adrift at half time, Dunnstown held the ball in its forward line for the first 10 minutes of the third term.
A return of just four behinds would prove costly for the hosts - even moreso when Waubra evergreen Tim Mullane got on the end of a rare foray forward to give the Roos some breathing space.
Lachie Johns then added another and the game looked to be slipping away from the Towners, before Aaron Sawers struck from the boundary line to keep the margin under two goals at the final change.
Sawers then provided the play of the day with a gut-busting running goal to give his team a late sniff, but that was only after Waubra youngster Will Booth calmly slotted what proved the sealing goal minutes earlier.
Next weekend, Waubra will look to make it five wins in-a-row when it takes on fellow undefeated outfit Beaufort, while Dunnstown travels to tackle Carngham-Linton.
Smythesdale 8.9 (57) d Carngham Linton 7.12 (54)
By John McGregor
SMYTHESDALE took its clash against Carngham-Linton right down to the wire and snared a three-point victory.
After the Bulldogs broke their winless streak two rounds ago, Saturday's come-from-behind success was sweet indeed.
Both teams were tied going into the final term after a first half that went the Saints’ way.
With seconds to go, Stephen Smith sealed the win with a goal from a thumping kick into a fluky wind.
Smith's pack mark had Smythesdale fans on their feet and cheering him on as the clock ran down.
An almighty roar went up as the ball sailed through and the Bulldogs chalked up their second win of the season.
Credit must go to Smythesdale’s Thomas Nankivell, who booted two majors in the windy conditions.
Bulldogs big man Rylan Rattley was consistent and reliable in the centre and at the stoppages.
Noteworthy players were Rhys Antonio, Joshua Szabo, John Cranny, Tim Conder and Smith.
Carngham-Linton’s wasteful kicking was costly, but players like Lachlan Isbister, Paul Granger, Shannon Curtis, Brodie Doolan, Tim Clarke and Bradley Millane were so close to pulling off a Saints win.
"I was a bit worried in the last quarter, but we dug in and got the job done,” Smythesdale coach Stephen Frys said.
And what about two wins?
"Yeah it's big. It's a good feeling for the club. The boys deserve every minute of it...they've worked hard.”
Carngham-Linton coach Aaron Braeckmans wasn't happy about the team's "patchy" performance.
"It's our story it seems...dropping games. We play well in patches. But that's it,” Braeckmans said.
Gordon 23.19 (157) d Rokewood-Corindhap 6.12 (48)
By Tim O'Connor
GORDON traveled to Rokewood on Saturday and produced a devastating display to trounce the Grasshoppers by 109 points.
Steve Nicholson and Mick Nolan kicked six goals each, while Chris McGuigan showed his class as the Eagles secured an easy success on the road.
Caius Barrenger booted three goals in a gallant display in attack for the vanquished, which had winger Damon Van Dyken taken to hospital after a heavy knock.
Ballan 22.23 (155) d Clunes 7.0 (42)
By Tim O'Connor
BALLAN coach Justin McConnell kicked 13 goals as Ballan handed Clunes yet another belting.
The Blues were fronting from losses at the hands of premiership contenders Bungaree and Gordon, but slipped straight back to winning ways at home on Saturday.
Ballan held the Magpies to a solitary goal in the first half on their way to a commanding 113-point triumph.
McConnell’s haul takes him to equal top spot on the league goal-kicking chart.
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