Bungaree 22.10 (142) d Rokewood-Corindhap 3.2 (20)
By Tim O'Connor
CHRISTIAN Elliott returned to the Bungaree line-up in devastating form on Saturday.
The forward, who missed the win over Carngham-Linton the weekend before, kicked eight goals as the Demons crushed Rokewood-Corindhap by 122 points.
That result lifted Bungaree back into the top four at the expense of Gordon, which lost to Springbank.
Demons coach Heath Pyke kicked four goals to add to his haul of nine the week before, while Alex Browning was rated the best player for the victors.
Rokewood-Corindhap, playing at home, trailed by just 13 points at quarter time, but barely troubled the goal umpire after the first change.
The hosts named Damon Van Dyken as best, while Caius Barrenger, Jonathan Noy and Brendan Wall were the only players to find the big sticks.
Bungaree has another easy assignment against Smythesdale next Saturday, while the Grasshoppers, now 14th on the ladder, travel to take on Ballan.
Creswick 6.14 (50) d Smythesdale 0.0 (0)
By Tim O'Connor
SMYTHESDALE was kept scoreless for the first time since 2014 as Creswick landed its fifth victory of the season on Saturday.
The Bulldogs, back on home soil after vandalism to its oval last month, were unable to trouble the scorers in the round 11 clash.
Smythesdale was last held to zero by Hepburn in round 13 of 2014. That feat occurred five times during a horror campaign.
In a real scrap, the Wickers had just one goal to half time before pulling away to win by 50 points.
Clint Robinson was the only multiple goal-kicker with two and was a standout alongside onballers Caleb and Aaron Hepworth.
Creswick forward Darrien Mann was stretchered off the ground after a heavy hit, but football manager Brad Jarvis expects him to be right for the Wickers’ next game against Dunnstown.
Among the best for Smythesdale was Rylan Rattley, Cranny brothers John and Jackson and Cameron Antonio.
Hepburn 10.16 (76) d Dunnstown 11.8 (74)
By John McGregor
AFTER four lead changes and desperate physical football, Hepburn pulled off a remarkable two-point win against Dunnstown on Saturday.
After the previous week’s shocker against Buninyong, the Towners faced a tall order against the Burras, but a home ground advantage seemed to do the trick.
Dunnstown had to chase Hepburn in the first half, but hit the front for the first time in the third quarter after a goal by Andrew Malone.
Hepburn had looked capable of putting Dunnstown away and got out to a nine-point lead before the Towners started reeling in the Burras.
Dunnstown took a four-point advantage into the last term and the stage was set for a ding-dong battle.
Key forward Peter McGettigan got things going for the Towners, with his early major bumping the lead out to 11 points.
Some clever play and cool heads paid off early in the quarter with great courage from Towners Mal Douglas, Lachlan Poulter, Aaron Brennan, Aaron Sawers and Evan Mason.
The heart-breaker for Dunnstown came from Burras sharpshooter Lee Cox, who kicked two goals in the final stanza.
Cox’s last major came less than a minute from the final siren and put the Burras ahead by a point. Another behind by Hepburn finished off the game.
Lachlan Calder lurked around the goals for the Burras and booted three majors, while Craig Brown, Rick Ferraro, Tanner Wills, Michael Watt, Dan O’Halloran and Brad McKay stood out in a great team effort.
Hepburn coach Jason Olver highlighted the Burras’ “will to win” in the dying moments of the game.
“It was a real scrap. In the end, it was just the will to win...and both sides had it. And when the siren sounded, we had our noses in front,” he said.
And the Lee Cox goal at the end?
“He’s kicked the crucial goals when we’ve needed them and he’s done it again,” Olver said.
Dunnstown coach Justin Abrams said the close loss was “gut-wrenching”.
“There were four lead changes...it could very easily have gone our way,” he said.
Hepburn remains second on the Central Highlands Football League following a 10th win of the season, while Dunnstown is still eighth, but now level-pegging on points with ninth-placed Ballan.
The Burras’ next assignment is another tough one against Beaufort next weekend, with the Towners to start favourites in an away clash against Creswick.
Buninyong 12.9 (81) d Beaufort 9.7 (61)
By David Bilbrough
AN UNDERMANNED Beaufort couldn't arrest its form slump when it hosted Buninyong on Saturday, going down by 20 points.
The Crows face another stiff challenge at Hepburn next weekend, but will have up to six players returning to a side that is missing about a dozen through injury or unavailability.
Beaufort trailed by as much as 39 points early in the last term, but slashed the margin to just 15 points with four consecutive goals, a fact which pleased an otherwise disappointed coach Dale Power.
"I'm really pleased with the way we fought it out. There were some pleasing signs in the second half – winning a lot more of the ball to give ourselves a chance at scoring – but at the end of the day they were too strong across the ground," he said.
The Bombers hit their straps after quarter time.
Tyler Dittloff, Glen Phelps and Ned Gilbert took control across half back and in the midfield, while Joel Ottavi (two goals) and Jake Dunne ruled the air space up forward, the latter hauling in mark of the day.
Anthony Ebery chipped in with two majors, while coach Jarrod Morgan booted three.
The Bombers threatened to blow the Crows away, but took the foot off the pedal to leave Morgan concerned.
"They played out the four quarters and few of our blokes put the cue in the rack, I think. It's a bit disappointing and we have to be better than that,” Morgan said.
Buninyong's win came at a cost as Alec Wiltshire was taken off on a stretcher midway into the third term after an accidental head clash with a teammate.
Daylesford 18.11 (119) d Newlyn 5.7 (37)
By Scot Nicholson
DAYLESFORD was far too strong for Newlyn in a commanding 82-point victory on Saturday.
An eight-goal opening term from the Bulldogs snuffed out any chance of the Cats being able to claw their way into the contest.
Daylesford coach Marcus Goonan said that after two previous losses, the desire to win was vital.
“I think aggressive is the way we play the game. We always felt confident of winning today against Newlyn and we got the job done,” Goonan said.
“The most pleasing part of the result today (is) having our younger guys stepping up to the task and being arguably the best performers in the game.”
Cameron Ralph was in sensational form in front of the big sticks with three goals, while Joel Cowan transitioned across the ground to claim two majors.
Newlyn coach Kal Young said a number of selection changes would occur following the heavy defeat.
“I think we were embarrassing at best. That was easily the most disappointing loss I’ve experienced as a coach,” Young told The Courier.
“There is no excuse for what happened today and you must expect more from the 22 players who take the field each week.”
Will Young was the leading scorer for the Cats with four goals.
Newlyn will face Springbank next weekend without key defender Daniel Hammond after he suffered a hamstring injury. Initial reports from the club are that he is set to miss the next three to four weeks.
Learmonth 24.6 (150) d Skipton 8.11 (59)
By Tim O'Connor
LEARMONTH forward Brodrick Campbell kicked his biggest bag for Learmonth in a 91-point drubbing of Skipton.
Campbell booted 12 majors on Saturday as the Lakies landed their third win of the season.
Fellow forward Nathan Bond kicked five to help the visitors race clear from a three-point lead at quarter time to inflict a heavy beating on the Emus, which named Brett Conroy and Mitch Jones their best players.
Waubra 30.11 (191) d Clunes 0.2 (2)
By Tim O'Connor
WAUBRA cruised to a fourth-straight victory while keeping Clunes to its first goalless performance of 2016 on Saturday.
Tim Boyle and Dean Robertson kicked six goals apiece for the Roos, which climbed to fifth on the ladder courtesy of the 189-point win at home.
Onballer Lincoln Barnes continued his cracking season for Waubra with another best-on-ground display, while Ash Ballinger and Lachie Johns were also good.
Ballan 19.14 (128) d Carngham Linton 5.6 (36)
By Tim O'Connor
BALLAN is now just percentage outside the top eight after a hefty 92-point thrashing of Carngham-Linton.
Missing key figures Justin McConnell, Jason McNamara and Zac Peoples, the Blues kicked right away from the Saints after half time at Snake Valley.
Jack Gibbs and Chris Povey kicked six goals each for the winners, which are now just percentage behind eighth-placed Dunnstown.
Lachlan Herring was named best for the Blues.
Springbank 10.12 (72) d Gordon 9.11 (65)
By Tim O'Connor
SPRINGBANK’S premiership defence is well and truly on track.
The Tigers consolidated their place inside the Central Highlands Football League top four with a seven-point victory in an epic grand final rematch with Gordon on Saturday.
And this result has almost assured a double chance in finals with just one more clash against a current top eight side in the remaining six home and away rounds of the season.
Springbank is third on the ladder and will start heavy favourites in matches against Newlyn, Skipton, Carngham-Linton, Rokewood-Corindhap and Smythesdale.
This sequence is split by a difficult clash with Waubra in round 14.
Tigers joint-coach Michael Searl was pleased with the side’s position at this stage of the campaign, but admitted it couldn’t take its foot off the pedal with such an even competition in 2016.
“We just cannot afford to drop a game with so many teams breathing down our neck,” Searl said.
“We don’t want to be playing our best footy now - we want to be playing our best footy at the end of the year.”
Some of that “best footy” came during a sizzling third term on Saturday, which saw the Tigers fight back from a 20-point half time deficit to lead the match by 11 points heading into the final change.
Billy Driscoll and Paul McMahon were integral in the Springbank resurgence, with the pair combining for six goals – including one after the siren – in a damaging third-quarter display.
This came after the Eagles took the match by the scruff of the neck in the second quarter with majors from Ash Munari, Chris McGuigan, Ben Quinlan, Brad Hallam, Luke Gunnell and Ryan Aquilina giving the visitors all the momentum at the long break.
Gordon probably had the better of the arm-wrestle in the final term, but a wasteful 1.6 meant the home side could hang on to record a 10.12 (72) to 9.11 (65) triumph.
The result means the Tigers retain the Jim Toohey Memorial Shield, and for his stellar efforts in defence, Springbank general Tim Malone was named best on ground.
While Malone was in everything, the cool heads of Paul McMahon, Billy Driscoll and joint-coach Nick Couch paved the way for success. That trio kicked nine goals between them, with Couch’s run and carry major in the second term a highlight of a spiteful contest between two bitter rivals.
Gordon coach Gary Learmonth believed it was these types of players that helped get the home side over the line.
“Either side could have won it, we didn’t take our chances and their experienced players were probably the difference in the end,” he said.
“You are always disappointed when you lose, but we understand they are the reigning premiers and favourites for the flag.”
Defender Mark Gunnell, for his performance on Tigers sharpshooter Tom Eltringham, was the Eagles’ standout contributor, while Tye Murphy was good through the midfield. Backman Matt Raworth was also rated one of Gordon’s best before he left the field after landing awkwardly on his foot in the last quarter.
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