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EAST POINT V SEBASTOPOL
"We still have a lot of improvement."
These words from East Point coach Jake Bridges are enough to put a shiver through every rival side in the McDonald's Ballarat Football League.
"The way we move the football. I reckon we still have a fair of improvement in us."
This is how Bridges sums up the first four weeks of the Roos' premiership defence as the competition goes to a break for the AFL Victoria Community Championships.
East Point kept its unbeaten run going with a 31-point win over Sebastopol at KFC Eastern Oval on Saturday.
The Burra took the game up to the Kangaroos for three quarters, but paid the price for a sluggish third term in which East Point laid the foundation for another four premiership points.
East Point led by 35 points at the last change. Sebastopol rallied after getting its first goal of the second half 12 minutes into the last quarter to close within 17 points, but as it usually does these days the Roos clicked up a gear.
As well as looking better organised in attack, defence underscored the performance by East Point.
Joel Van Meel often gets under the radar, but this time he was a stand-out in the backline with Clay Bilney.
Bilney was given the job of locking down James Keeble, who returned for his first game of the year, and Bridges could not have happier with the match-up outcome.
Keeble missed Sebastopol's opening two games with lower back trouble and stepped into the side as a late inclusion to replace an unavailable Brett Goodes.
Bridges said he had be pleased with his side's response after a tight first half, in which Sebastopol was often in control.
Despite the loss, Sebastopol coach Leigh Hutchinson believes the Burra is "not far away".
He said with a stop-start opening to the season and several players returning from injury, he had no doubt Sebastopol was a little underdone.
Hutchinson said he was encouraged by the spirit his players had shown to fight back in the last quarter.
He said they were playing some good football in patches, but needed more of it.
Sebastopol's cause was not helped early when it lostr Toby Hutt early with an ankle injury.
James Keeble replaced Brett Goodes (work commitments) in selected side
Toby Hutt (ankle)
EAST POINT 2.3, 4.7, 9.10, 11.14 (80)
SEBASTOPOL 3.1, 4.3, 4.5, 7.7 (49)
GOALS - East Point: Brad Whittaker 3, Bryson McDougall 2, Jacob Brown 2, Aden Nestor 1, Lucas Dahlenburg 1, Mickitja Rotumah-Onus 1, Matthew Johnston 1. Sebastopol: Michael Powell 2, Geoffrey Lovett 2, Luke Kiel 1, Jai Harvey 1, James Keeble 1
BEST - East Point: Clay Bilney, Jesse Baird, Billy Jones, Joel Van Meel, Jacob Brown, Joel Mahar. Sebastopol: Sam Jenkins, Geoffrey Lovett, Lachlan Cassidy, Nicholas Hausler, Jai Harvey
MELTON V DARLEY
Melton inflicted Darley's first defeat of the Ballarat Football League season at MacPherson Park on Saturday.
The Bloods took the match away from Darley in the second and third terms to set up the 30-point win.
Darley gave itself some scoreboard respectability with six majors in the last quarter, but that is all it was after struggling in attack.
The pressure was on Melton to stay in touch with the ladder leaders and the performance did just that for last year's grand finalist.
Connor Griffiths shone for Melton again with the likes of Jaycob Hickey and ther Carter brothers.
Braedan Kight was back to his best near goal with five majors.
MELTON 2.3, 6.6, 8.11, 12.15 (87)
DARLEY 3.0, 3.1, 3.3, 9.3 (57)
GOALS - Melton: Braedan Kight 5, Liam Carter 2, Ryan Davis 2, Brett McIntyre 1, Jack Walker 1, Blake Souter 1. Darley: Jake. Edwards 2, Harley Inglis, Nick Graham, Billy Myers, Joel Cadman, Brian Graham, Anthony Azzopardi, Jack Bewley
BEST - Melton: Connor Griffiths, Mark Orr, Braedan Kight, Jaycob Hickey, Ryan Carter, Liam Carter. Darley: Nick Graham, Jackson Carrick, Jake Edwards
REDAN V LAKE WENDOUREE
Redan remains unbeaten in what has been a dream start to the season.
The Lions kept their record intact with a 25-point win over a dour Lake Wendouree at the City Oval on Saturday.
Redan jumped away to a 27-point lead in the first quarter and Lakers were never able to get close enough to mount a serious challenge.
Redan's defensive pressure through the midfield was decisive in the formative stages.
Lake Wendouree struggled to get it out of its back half, with the Lions forcing repeated turnovers and then handing out punishment in goals.
Orren Stephenson, Lachie George and Dean Chester provided the impetus as Redan took the game on.
Lakers were not without their chances, but unlike a deadly accurate Chester (who finished the day with four goals), they fell down in front of goal to lose touch.
Redan coach Jarrett Giampaolo said although there was plenty to like about the Lions, he was disappointed the way they had given up goals in the third term.
Redan and Lakers each added five majors.
Ash Simpson, Bailey Edwards and Ben Taylor were particularly busy, but Lake Wendouree was unable to fully capitalise on their work.
REDAN 5.5, 8.6, 13.10, 13.15 (93)
LAKE WENDOUREE 1.2, 3.6, 8.11, 9.14 (68)
GOALS - Redan: Dean Chester 4, Lachlan McLean 3, Angus Cleary 2, Lachlan George 1, Blake Thomson 1, Todd Douglass 1, Keenan Waterbury 1. Lake Wendouree: Joel O'Connell 2, Mitchell Phillips 2, Bailey Edwards 1, Kynan Raven 1, Callum McKay 1, Ashley Simpson 1, Ben Taylor 1
BEST - Redan: Blake Thomson, Dean Mathews, Dean Chester, Orren Stephenson, Benjamin Smyth, Lachlan George. Lake Wendouree: Shane Hutchinson, Ashley Simpson, Joel O'Connell, Arthur Armstrong, Bailey Edwards, Ben Taylor
SUNBURY V NORTH BALLARAT CITY
Sunbury reaped the benefits of greater intensity at the football with a 42-point win over North Ballarat City at Sunbury.
The Lions stole a march with a six-goal third quarter and there was no coming back for North.
Disappointed by its loss to Redan the previous round, Sunbury coach Travis Hodgson responded by making five changes - stinging the Lions into action.
"It was a best performance all round for the year.
"We were much harder at the ball."
He said they had executed much better - making the most of having more of the football, especially inside 50m.
Hodgson said the challenge now was to maintain the same level of intensity away from home.
Sunbury has had a dismal record on the road over the past year.
Onballer Alik Magin continued his mercurial start to the season with another big game.
Lachie Bramble and Mitch Conn also caught the eye through the midfield, while Grant Valles ensured North Ballarat big forward Will Young had little influence.
Alec Goodson and Jack Landt provided an edge in front of goal with four majors apiece.
North Ballarat City coach Shane Skontra said a costly third quarter had hurt.
North was in the game until half-time, but six goals in the third term to Sunbury broke the game open.
Daniel Jones stepped up with six goals for City.
NORTH BALLARAT CITY
Charlie Perks (knee - posterior cruciate ligament)
SUNBURY 3.7, 7.9, 13.13, 16.17 (113)
NORTH BALLARAT CITY 5.2, 6.4, 7.5, 11.5 (71)
GOALS - Sunbury: Jack Landt 4, Alec Goodson 4, Lachlan Bramble 3, Jack Sheahan 2, Reece Wood 1, Gregory Hay 1, Liam Berry 1. North Ballarat City: Daniel Jones 6, Izaac Johnson 2, Ryan Hobbs 1, Tom Bromley-Lynch 1, Sam Willian 1
BEST - Sunbury: Alik Magin, Grant Valles, Liam Berry, Jack Landt, Nathan Wood, Alec Goodson. North Ballarat City: Daniel Jones, Ryan Luke, Ryan Hobbs, Sam Bromley-Lynch, Joshua Bromley-Lynch, Jason McNamara
BACCHUS MARSH V BALLARAT
BACCHUS Marsh had its first win of the season - crushing Ballarat by 106 points at Maddingley Park.
The winless Swans were unable to break down the Cobras' defence, with the home combination largely doing as it liked.
Bacchus Marsh coach Peter Davey said the Cobras were a "decent" team at their best.
"When we're bad though, we're really bad."
Davey said on this occasion the Marsh had put in a full four-quarter effort, only dropping away in the last 10 minutes when fatigue started to set it.
Ballarat doubled its goal tally to four in this period, but it made no impact on the outcome.
Davye said the group had reflected at half-time on how tough the start of the season had been and of the need to go on with the job.
It was not all good news for the Cobras, with key onballer Jacob Chisari suffering a suspected broken foot and facing an extended time sidelined.
For Ballarat, it was a season low after some encouraging signs against East Point a week earlier.
Ballarat coach Joe Carmody said the Swans described some aspects of their performance as "shambolic".
He said they struggled to retain possession and stick tackles on the bigger bodied Cobras.
Carmody said with the club's depth being tested, he would continue to rotate players through the side and provide opportunities.
The scoreline was not Ballarat's only worry by the end of the day.
Ben Hobbs suffered an ankle injury and Andrew Hooper will have an injured hand scanned to learn the extent of an issue.
Hamish Colulton replaced Tom Brownbridge (knee) in selected side
Jacob Chisari (broken foot)
Jack Lalor made his senior debut
Andrew Hooper (hand)
Ben Hobbs (ankle)
BACCHUS MARSH 5.3, 13.7, 19.9, 21.13 (139)
BALLARAT 1.2, 2.5, 2.7, 4.9 (33)
GOALS - Bacchus Marsh: Aaron Willitts 5, Jake De Winter 4, Billy Griffiths 3, Tyson Shea 2, Jake Owen 2, Declan Phyland 2, Jack Lalor, Liam Mullen, Hamish Coulton. Ballarat: Marcus Powling 2, Andrew Hooper 2
BEST - Bacchus Marsh: Daniel Burton, Tyson Shea, Nick Stuhldreier, Aaron Willitts, Jacob De Winter, Declan Phyland. Ballarat: Mitch Martin, Sam James, Bailey Fraser, Daniel Kennedy, Taylor Sutton, Toby Fisher
EAST POINT 16, 192.89
REDAN 16, 148.80
DARLEY 12, 154.62
MELTON 12, 134.33
SUNBURY 8, 102.03
SEBASTOPOL 8, 88.21
North Ballarat City 8, 87.34
Lake Wendouree 8, 69.19
Bacchus Marsh 4, 113.10
Melton South 4, 44.64
Ballarat 0, 51.43
ROUND 5 - MAY 25
Sebastopol v Redan
Lake Wendouree v Ballarat
Darley v North Ballarat City
East Point v Melton South
Bacchus Marsh v Sunbury