North Ballarat City 17.13 (115) d Sunbury 15.9 (99)
By David Brehaut
NORTH Ballarat City coach Jordyn Burke believes rediscovered self-belief can take his players as far as they want in the Ballarat Football League.
City overcame injuries and a sizeable deficit to defeat Sunbury by 16 points and with the success inject new energy into its season at Eureka Stadium on Saturday.
Sunbury led by 35 points in the second quarter and looked back in business after back-to-back defeats.
That was until Burke and the irrepressible Derrick Micallef took things into their own hands.
Burke went into the ruck and not only nullified David Kovacevic, who had orchestrated Sunbury’s early domination, but inspired a City resurgence even though Keegan George (ankle) and Daniel Kilpatrick (face) were out of the game.
Micallef then put the polish on the performance with three goals – giving him six for the day – and a string of assists as City wore down and ran over the top of Sunbury.
Burke, who is in his first year in charge, said it was easily North Ballarat’s best game of his tenure.
City had struggled against the competition’s pacemakers since beating Redan in round two and, although going into this round 11 battle was just percentage off second position, was desperate to get a win over another team in the same bracket on the ladder.
Burke openly declared pre-game this was why this home game carried so much weight. He said North did everything he had asked of it at half-time when down by 27 points after a reshuffle to stir some new life into the midfield, where the likes of Alik Magin, Nathan Wood and Greg Hay were in charge for the Lions.
Burke said they finally began to get numbers to contests. He said their fitness had been factor, ensuring they had plenty of run when it counted most in a tense last quarter.
While North Ballarat comfortably had the better of the third quarter and ultimately the last in which it kicked seven goals, it was not until into time-on that it secured what would be a winning lead.
City hit the lead for the first time 12 minutes in and then Burke gave it an eight-point break. However, Sunbury replied with the help of a 50m penalty and then again took the lead. That was it for the Lions though. Jarryd Graham, Mitch Johns and Micallef each goaled and it was game over.
Another game had slipped through the fingers of Sunbury.
Josh Bromley-Lynch was another casualty for City, dislocating a shoulder late.
Darley 13.19 (97) d East Point 10.9 (69)
By Michael Hankin
DARLEY left no doubt about its desire to play finals in a come-from-behind 28-point win over East Point in the Ballarat Football League at the Eastern Oval on Saturday.
This lifts the Devils over East Point to be a game clear in sixth position.
It was a vastly different Darley which took to the field in the third term after kicking 1.12 in the first half.
With Mitch Banner one of the main offenders in front of goal early , the high profile recruit turned his fortunes and those of the Devils around after the main break – kicking five goals to be one of the major differences.
For East Point and coach Glenn Wilkins, there was some scratching of heads after the match in order to determine just how their fortunes changed significantly after such a promising start.
The Kangaroos looked to be in control with a 25-point lead at half-time.
However, by three quarter time the lead had changed hands.
By their own admission some East Point players seemed to think that the game would just continue to play out in their favour, prompting Wilkins to remind his side about just how even the competition is this season and importance of being on their game all the time.
With Banner firing on all cylinders up forward and Jake Edwards, back from Geelong in the VFL, proving to be a handy inclusion across half back, Darley returned to something like of the form that saw it take out last year’s flag.
Jarrod Edwards remains guarded though, saying the slow start to the year for the Devils could still prove costly. “We know it’s a hard run home, but at the end of the day if we are going to do anything for the rest of the year, they are the sides that we have to knock off.
“We will put ourselves in the best position we possibly can at the end of the year and see where that leaves us, but the boys are looking forward to the challenge.”
Wilkins was buoyed by East’s first half, but concerned with the drop off that followed.
“They got on top of us in the midfield after half-time and got on top in the contested footy and clearances.
“They were able to provide their forwards with a bit more opportunities while our midfield supply dried up considerably,” he said.
Darley now faces Lake Wendouree, while East Point will pick up a easy four points for a bye – possibly enough to have the Kangaroos back in the top six.
Lake Wendouree 10.19 (79) d Melton 12.3 (75)
By Tyler Maher
LAKE Wendouree remains streets ahead of the rest of its rivals in the Ballarat Football League – on the ladder at least.
Only after holding off a gallant Melton by four points at McPherson Park on Saturday.
The Bloods, which are fighting for sixth place, refused to allow the undefeated get away.
Lake Wendouree had opportunities, but the gritty Melton pressure brought on rushed forward entries and inaccuracy.
Meton battled back from being 26 points down at half-time to kick 6.1 to eight behinds to be on the brink of a major upset.
Three of those majors came from the electric Braedan Kight, who provided sparks of brilliance in an otherwise bruising and tight affair.
Lake Wendouree are not on top by chance though and closed out the nail-biting match with poise and a touch more.
Nick Peters and Ben Taylor starred in the midfield for the Lakers, with Tom Carey monstering the Bloods defenders for a relatively disappointing return of three majors considering the opportunities he had.
For Melton it was the usual suspects in Jack Walker, Jake Gleeson and Ryan Davis who were instrumental in taking the game up to the premiership favourite.
While Melton remains a game and significant percentage out of the top six in eighth and will look to keep their season alive against Sebastopol at home next round.
Ballarat 16.14 (110) d Melton South 7.6 (48)
BALLARAT surged to its biggest score of the season to cruise home by 62 points against Melton South in the BFL at Alfredton on Saturday.
The Swans topped 90 points for the first time and also conceded the lowest total for the year.
The Panthers had shown encouraging signs a week earlier against Lake Wendouree, but Ballarat wasted no time putting to rest any thoughts of a first win for the year for Melton South.
Hayden Hughes was on fire, kicking four goals in the opening 15 minutes as Ballarat established a match-winning break.
Hughes finished the day with six. Nick O’Farrell chimed in with three goals.
Youngsters Mitch Bishop and Will Garner joined veteran Shane Hutchinson to be prominent in Ballarat bringing up its third win.
Will Thornton-Gielen, Michael Callus and Lachlan Watkins were among Melton South’s better contributors on a day which fell short of expectations for the Panthers.
Bacchus Marsh 10.11 (71) d Sebastopol 3.4 (22)
BACCHUS Marsh coach Travis Hodgson was more than satisfied with a 49-point win over Sebastopol in the BFL in trying heavy conditions at Marty Busch Reserve on Saturday.
He said although the scoreboard did not reflect it, he believed the Cobras had been consistent over four quarters in its attack on the ball and overall control.
“We didn’t drop away. We didn’t take opportunities.”
Bacchus Marsh kicked the opening five goals and by half-time led by a match-winning 50 points.
Then in the second half it could manage only 1.9 – allowing the Burra to outscore it by one point.
Jarrah Maksymow demonstrated why the Cobras had been so keen to get him as a late signing as he handled the football as if it was dry weather conditions. Ruckman Daniel Burton is getting better with each outing and was again to the fore.
The win keeps the Cobras in second – percentage clear of North Ballarat City and Reda
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