Bacchus Marsh sets itself apart in BFL | round 7 in review

BFNL football and netball through the lens


by Michael Hankin

Bacchus Marsh reminded potential challengers in the Ballarat Football League what a force it is shaping up to be with a whopping 108- point victory over a hapless Melton on Saturday. 

Cobras coach Travis Hodgson described the win as a “complete four-quarter performance”.

It left Melton stunned.

Bloods coach Aaron Tymms was at a loss to explain what happened, bewildered as to why his players could not find a way to deal with the Bacchus Marsh pressure at Melton.

“It’s incredibly disappointing.”

Melton went into the match in fifth with four wins in six outings, with its season full of promise, but is now sixth and two games adrift of the top four.

Hodgson was impressed with the Cobras’ even and consistent performance.

“It’s actually the first time this year that we’ve won four quarters, so for us it was really about the evenness and the effort. 

“The pressure was something that we’ve done well in patches, but today we were really able to sustain it and do it quite well.

“Melton was able to meet us head-on in the first quarter, but I think a lot of the hard work we did early allowed us to break the game open in the second quarter and ultimately be able to go on with it,” he said.

The match was relatively low scoring early, with Bacchus Marsh holding a slender eight-point lead at quarter time.

The Cobras then kicked into gear, adding eight goals to one in the second term to set up a convincing 47-point half-time lead. 

From there, Melton had no answer to the manic and persistent pressure placed on it by Bacchus Marsh.

Marsh’s potent forward line combination of Jake Owen, Ben Speight and Aaron Willits combined for 14 goals, while Daniel Burton was instrumental in the ruck for the Cobras.

Mitch Brockwell and Lachlan Heaney battled on manfully for the Bloods, but in the end it was unlucky to have caught a Bacchus Marsh side at its best. 

This is the third time this year Bacchus Marsh has kicked 20 goals or more.

The Cobras have 24 premiership points – the same as Sunbury, North Ballarat City and East Point – to head the ladder.

They head the ladder with a percentage 40 points better than anyone else, and meets winless bottom team Redan next.

Melton will get a chance to bounce back against Lake Wendouree in what will be a danger game. 

Bacchus Marsh 2.3,  10.3,  17.4,  24.5  (149)

Melton 1.1,  2.4,  2.5,  6.5  (41)

GOALS - Bacchus Marsh: Jake Owen 6, Benjamin Speight 4, Aaron Willitts 4, Alec Del Papa 3, Ryley Stuhldreier 2, Declan Phyland 1, Harrison King 1, Hamish Coulton 1, Tyson Shea 1, Daniel Burton 1. Melton: Mitchell Brockwell 2, Brett McIntyre 1, Lachlan Hickey 1, Connor Griffiths 1, Braedan Kight 1

BEST - Bacchus Marsh: Scott Sherlock, Daniel Burton, Alec Del Papa, Jake Owen, Liam Mullen, Tyson Shea. Melton: Jordyn Cotter, Luke Heaney, Daniel Walker, Bailey Mawson, Matt Denham, Billy Crofts


Drew Petrie made a dream hometown return to inspire Ballarat to a last-gasp win over Redan in the Ballarat Football League at Alfredton on Saturday.

Petrie overcame the jitters in front of goals to seal the 13-point victory with the last two majors of the match.

The North Melbourne 300-game veteran, in his first game since retiring as a West Coast Eagles player last season, was ultimately the difference between the cellar dwellars as Redan continues to search for its first win.

Petrie gave a master class of tap ruck work to give the Swans first use of the football at centre bounces.

Then as the day wore on he became pivotal as a pathway to goal through a series of assists in a mixed role as a ruckman and high forward.

Petrie started in the goal mouth, but that soon changed with Redan dominant in the opening quarter.

Led by Nathan Horbury, Liam Hoy, Grant Bell and Cooper Craig-Peters, the Lions did not give Ballarat a look in as they kicked the opening five goals to open up 34-point lead early oin the second term.

Redan had too much pace and it willingness to run through the lines had Ballarat in disarray, especially in attack.

It was no coincidence that as Petrie began to get his hands on the football and have an influence that the Swans started to work their way into the game.

With Petrie spending most of his time on-ball, Marcus Powling (three goals) was released to play at full forward and his aerial strength became a factor.

It was Redan’s turn to struggle in the third quarter as a hard-tackling Ballarat took contol with six goals to win to lead by nine points with Nick and Will Garner, Shane Hutchinson in charge through the midfield.

Redan was not about to let the game go so easily though and digging deep clawed its way back to level up on 18 minutes.

Again Ballarat needed to respond and it did.

Petrie had an opportunity from a set shot to put the Swans in front, but shanked his kick out of bounds. He did not miss his next two chances though to seal the deal.

Ballarat coach Shane Hutchinson said he was unsure whether nerves had struck the Swans in the opening quarter, but they had made it tough for themselves by going away from their game plan.

He said he was pleased with the way they had responded though.

Ballarat 0.1,  4.4,  9.7,  12.12  (84)

Redan 5.0,  6.2,  7.10,  10.11  (71)

GOALS - Ballarat: Marcus Powling 3, Phillip Vivian 2, Nicholas Garner 2, Drew Petrie 2, Thomas Conroy 1, Daniel Kennedy 1, Keegan Mellington 1. Redan: Grant Bell 4, Matthew Coon 1, Nathan Horbury 1, Alexander Harvey 1, Benjamin Smyth 1, Lachlan McLean 1, Jarrett Giampaolo 1

BEST - Ballarat: Phillip Vivian, Nicholas Garner, William Garner, Marcus Powling, Shane Hutchinson, Taylor Sutton. Redan: Cooper Craig-Peters, Jarrett Giampaolo, Nathan Horbury, William Madden, Liam Hoy, Matthew Coon


Darley took the points against Melton South in the BFL at Darley on Saturday, but not without feeling more pain on the injury front.

Still getting over the long-term loss of Brian Graham (knee), the Devils are now set to be without fleet-footed Leigh Spiteri for a lengthy period with knee trouble.

Coach Heath Scotland said while a full diagnosis of the injury was not yet known, it looked “nasty”.

Ruckman Dylan Reid also strained a hamstring after the Devils had key defender Darren Leonard (calf) as a late withdrawal.

Although the margin blew out late, Melton South coach Ash Manning could not fault the effort of his young team after losing ex-AFL duo Brendan Fevola and Mitch Golby, Dale Houghton, Daniel Hillier and Jack Watkins in the selected side pre-match, and then frontline midfielders Mark Lynch (groin) and Reece Miles (corky) early.

The Panthers had three debutants – under-18.5 captain Jesse Geddes, John Kovarik and Dylan Clarke.

Darley 6.3,  7.8,  11.15,  19.21  (135)

Melton South 3.2,  5.4,  7.5,  10.9  (69)

GOALS - Darley: Harley Inglis 4, Jake Edwards 3, Jordan Spiteri 3, Jake Ancrum 2, Jackson Carrick 2, Jacob Zeestraten 2, Dylan Reid 1, Mark Hanson 1, Luke  Delahey 1. Melton South: Matthew Sullivan 2, Matthew Notman 2, Jake Charge 1, Shaun White 1, Brody Sullivan 1, Dylan Clarke 1, Aaron Clarke 1, Benjamin Sortino 1

BEST - Darley: Shane Page, Corey Cullen, Luke  Delahey, Jacob Zeestraten, Jordan Spiteri, Lachlan Herring. Melton South: Shaun White, Farren Ray, Lachlan Watkins, Craig Searle, Benjamin Sortino, Jake Charge


East Point had all the answers to a determined Lake Wendouree in the BFL at the Eastern Oval on Saturday.

While the Kangaroos always looked to have the game under control, Lakers never let the home combination to get too far away.

Lake Wendouree coach Dale Power said in the end East Point’s skill level was too good.

Even without Jordan Johnston and Brad Whittaker, the Roos’s height up forward in the likes of Joel Ottavi and Bryson McDougall – three goals a piece – was too much of a stretch for Lakers to stop.

Matt Johnston, Mickitja Rotumah-Onus, Daniel Semmens and Aaron Nestor have been the lifeblood of the East Point midfield all year and this match was no exception to keep it just percentage from top position.

While it was another encouraging effort by Lakers, Power said it was important they did not becomne satisfied with commendable losses. 

Young Lake Wendouree ruckman Tom McKechnie (corky) was a late withdrawal.

East Point 4.5,  7.8,  11.12,  13.15  (93)

Lake Wendouree 2.1,  6.3,  8.5,  11.8  (74)

GOALS - East Point: Joel Ottavi 3, Bryson McDougall 3, Matthew Johnston 2, Jacob Brown 2, Cameron Lovig 1, Mickitja Rotumah-Onus 1, Daniel Semmens 1. Lake Wendouree: Callum Mc Kay 2, Ambrose Gillett 2, Liam Hepworth 1, Ben Taylor 1, Caleb Hepworth 1, Arthur Armstrong 1, Ned Nash 1, Tom Nijam 1, Jack Elkington 1

BEST - East Point: Matthew Johnston, Mickitja Rotumah-Onus, Joel Ottavi, Daniel Semmens, Paul Kodorenko, Aden Nestor. Lake Wendouree: Liam Hepworth, Jack Elkington, Caleb Hepworth, Lachlan O'Connell, Angus Kirby, Jacob Lohmann


Sunbury needed a positive outcome and it delivered against Sebastopol in the Ballarat Football League at Sunbury’s Clarke Oval on Saturday.

Coach Ben Jordan could hardly have been more impressed by the way Lions hit back after a heavy loss to North Ballarat City in their previous outing.

“It was a strong response.”

Sunbury nullified the Burra in the first half –  9.1 to 2.2 – to pave the way for the 38-point victory.

It was another opportunity lost by Sebastopol to stand up in a big-time game and show it has the potential to press for a top six spot.

Jordan said after being down in so many areas in their only defeat a week earlier, the Lions had been aggressive and intent on quick ball movement.

First-year recruit Liam Berry produced his best effort for the season with a disciplined defensive display.

Unfortunately, Berry looks only a 50-50 chance to back up against Ballarat after suffering shoulder injury.

Jack Fenner also caught the eye in his first appearance, adding needed height to Sunbury’s back line and in turn freeing up swingman Grant Valles to stay forward.

Jordan said Valles had played the perfect role – giving Sebastopol headaches as well as opening up play for the likes of Jack Landt (five goals).

Sunbury sits second on the ladder on the same premiership points as leader Bacchus Marsh, North Ballarat City and East Point.

However, the Lions will have to deal with a shoulder injury to the versatile Roger Allen (AC joint), who might miss two weeks, as well as the impressive Aaron Christensen being unavailable next round, and Nathan Wood spending six weeks overseas with teammate Alec Goodson. 

Sunbury 5.0,  9.1,  12.3,  14.4  (88)

Sebastopol 1.1,  2.2,  2.5,  7.8  (50)

GOALS - Sunbury: Jack Landt 5, Michael Edwards 2, Trent Stead 2, Ben Guthrie 1, Alik Magin 1, Aaron Christensen 1, Gregory Hay 1, Grant Valles 1. Sebastopol: James Keeble 4, Michael Powell 1, Todd Currie 1, Toby Hutt 1. 

BEST - Sunbury: Liam Berry, Nathan Wood, Mitchell Conn, Jack Landt, Grant Valles, Reece Wood. Sebastopol: Ryan Noether, Lachlan Cassidy, James Keeble, Tony Lockyer, Tom Petersen, Brett Goodes