East Point 20.17 (137) d Melton 6.9 (45)
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By David Brehaut
East Point injected new life into its season by taking Melton apart in the Ballarat Football League at the Eastern Oval on Saturday.
The Kangaroos had to win to keep alive its hopes of playing finals.
While it did that by a massive 92 points – its biggest winning margin of the season – East Point achieved much more.
It showed that it wants to do more than just scrape into the finals. The Kangaroos want to make an impact if they get there.
Coach Glenn Wilkins was prompted to suggest the performance might have some teams above it looking over their shoulders with some apprehension.
With the major percentage booster, East Point is in with a big chance of forcing its way into sixth position in the last home and away round.
The draw is certainly on the Kangaroos’ side, with them playing Sebastopol, and sixth-placed Darley taking on the higher ranked Sunbury and Melton meeting another certain finalist in North Ballarat City.
Not only must East Point win for it to play finals, it must rely on Darley – which is a game ahead – losing.
As upbeat as East Point was post-match on Saturday, Wilkins emphasised to his players there was still a job to be done if they were to have any chance of extending their season.
As impressive as the Kangaroos were, the story of the day was as much about the disappointing way Melton capitulated and fell apart.
After rebounding from a 34-point deficit at quarter time to get within one goal late in the second term, the Bloods added only four behinds in the second half to the despair of coach Brad Murphy.
Despite allowing Melton back in the contest in the second stanza, Wilkins described it as a complete performance – with a “terrific’’ work rate earmarked by an ability to win the hard ball, tackle and create space, which in turn led to a superior number of 50m entries and marks inside the 50m arc.
Bryson McDougall was a major beneficiary of this, with the young tall kicking seven goals – including two just on half-time to give East Point an 18-point break. Angus Wright and Rhys Monument, four goals apiece, were other youngsters to provide spark while Daniel Tung, Paul Koderenko, Jono Lanyon and Hayden Walters provided key leadership.
Sam Cooper played an eye-catcher in defence.
Sunbury 19.10 (124) d North Ballarat City 13.7 (85)
By Tyler Maher and David Brehaut
SUNBURY all but has third position in its keeping in the Ballarat Football League.
The Lions moved a game and percentage clear as it stamped its authority over North Ballarat City in a convincing 39-point victory at Sunbury on Saturday.
Sunbury went into the penultimate home and away round level on points with City.
With Sunbury highly fancied to against Darley in round 18, the Lions look to have done enough to get third.
The appeal of this position is that it sets up an elimination final with sixth – most likely to be East Point.
Ironically, if it falls this way East Point is the only team to have beaten the Eastern Lions at Sunbury this season.
Forward and midfield dominance was the foundation of Saturday’s win for Sunbury, with Jack Landt and Jesse McInneny combining for nine goals.
They were aptly fed by superstar Alik Magin, with help from ruckman David Kovacevic.
A ball magnet, Magin has been the recruit of the year in the BFL, being instrumental for lifting the Lions into premiership calculations.
The Lions led all day, but did not escape without a few heart palpitations in a match which was marked by huge momentum swings, especially in the third term.
Down by 27 points, North Ballarat City coach Jordyn Burke implored his troops to find a spark after half-time.
However, it was the Lions who lit up and after three quick majors the game looked done.
Mitch Johns had other ideas for City though. He led five-goal to one run with three majors of his own to close the gap to 18 points in a quarter in which each side booted seven goals.
Sunbury’s lead remained too much though.
For North Ballarat, Simon McCartin showed his charges the way in a great display, while Johns provided a different option in attack with four goals.
Derrick Micallef added three goals, but did not have the impact he often does as Sunbury avenged a loss to City in round seven.
Burke conceded Sunbury was better prepared for the top six clash and importantly got the jump.
He said City had not been helped by uncharacteristic fumbling, largely owing to the pressure put on it by the Lions.
Burke said North had had its chance – especially in the third term – but had paid the price for being undisciplined and giving away critical 50-metre penalties.
He said two late goals to Sunbury in the third period had been setback for City’s hopes.
Joe Symons and Ben Simpson were among North Ballarat’s best.
Sunbury’s spread of goalkickers was again a pleasing aspect in the performance.
Jesse McInneny made his biggest contribution in front of goal for the season with five, while the club’s leading goalkicker Jack Landt snagged four among 10 goalkickers.
As important as Magin has been on ball and as a link man around the ground, Landt has been the most dangerous around goal with a season tally of 39.
North Ballarat lost Keenan George early with a hamstring strain. While George is in some doubt for the round 18 encounter with Melton, Burke is confident he will be right for the opening week of finals on August 27-28.
Darley 19.19 (133) d Melton South 18.13 (121)
Darley escaped a major scare by Melton South to keep its nose in front in the battle for sixth in the BFL.
In their last game, the Panthers looked to be on the way to their first win of the season when they led by 10 points in the last quarter.
However, the more experienced Darley found that little extra and with greater poise went away by 12 points.
Melton South coach Mark Pedersen said the task just proved too much for an injury-hit youthful, patched up combination.
He said what the outing did show was that the club was going down the right path with youth.
Pedersen threw his team around, with skipper Shaun White (four goals) and ruckman Ben Sortino being used as permanent key forwards – moves which provided much needed targets in attack.
Darley prime mover Steve Kennedy was sidelined with an ankle injury, which will be a major worry with the Devils most likely needing to beat Sunbury to play finals.
Bacchus Marsh 20.10 (130) d Ballarat 5.6 (36)
By Michael Hankin
Bacchus Marsh secured the double chance by disposing of a young and fatigued Ballarat by 94 points in the BFL at Alfredton on Saturday.
It was a comprehensive performance by the Cobras, particularly in the midfield with Tyson Shea and Declan Phyland having huge influences.
Up forward it was Hamish Coulton (five goals), Rhys McNay and Lachlan Phyland who led the way.
The Swans were not helped by losing Tom Stapleton and Brendan Smith early in the day.
For Bacchus Marsh coach Travis Hodgson it was a matter of job done, with the Cobras fulfilling their objective of a top two finish.
“Apart from our ball use in the third quarter, which was pretty poor, our effort was a lot better today and structurally we were a lot better.
“We have known now for a few weeks that we were going to play finals, so we have been preparing for it. Next week will obviously be a tricky game coming up against Lake Wendouree, but we feel we are ready.”
Ballarat coach Ash Baker said he thought the effort was there for the first three quarters before dropping off.
“While today was a little disappointing in the way we didn’t finish off, over the course of mainly the second half of the year we have certainly noticed the group taking steps forward – really applying themselves to the best of their ability.”
Lake Wendouree 16.12 (108) d Sebastopol 8.11 (59)
Lake Wendouree set up a final tussle for top position at Sebastopol’s expense in the BFL at Wendouree on Saturday.
Although Sebastopol gave Lakers a few things to think about, particularly early, they were never really troubled in getting home by 49 points.
As well as the win, Lake Wendouree’s primary objective was to get through the game unscathed on the injury front and it did that.
Lakers coach Gavin Webb said he was satisfied with the day after Sebastopol had exerted consistent pressure at the outset.
Luke Bucknall, Angus Kirby, Lane Buckwell and Nathan Monk ensured the workload was spread for Lake Wendouree.
North Ballarat Roosters-listed Daniel Cox made his presence felt for the Burra, while skipper Tom Petersen and Jack McNab were again key contributors.
The Lakers now play Bacchus Marsh to determine the minor premiership and confirm a “home” qualifying final.
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