Ford stars in 150th as North Bendigo holds off spirited Saints

NORTH Bendigo withstood a spirited challenge from Heathcote to win Saturday’s opening game of the Bendigo Bank Heathcote District Football Netball League’s senior footy season.

The Dogs started favourites on their turf at Hibo Hotel Oval in Atkins Street, a ground they have rarely been beaten on in recent years.

There was plenty of incentive for North Bendigo as triple premiership-player Jordan Ford marked his 150th senior match.

Dual premiership coach Robert Bennett was also back in charge at the kennel.

One of several classy recruits back at the club, Nic Waterson goaled on his left to draw scores level.

The Bulldogs then upped their workrate at the centre ball-ups

North Bendigo’s marking targets in attack – Matt Gray (two goals), Dylan Klemm and Shane Harris were on target, and Ford also kicked the first of his three goals to lead 6.3 to 3.0 at quarter-time.

The Andrew Saladino-coached Heathcote then had the breeze in the second and moved within 11 points by the halfway mark of the term after goals by Jack Brooks and Kai Cavallaro.

It was the Bulldogs who lifted to score 4.0 to a goal.

By half-time, North Bendigo led 11.6 (72) to 7.0 (42).

Accuracy was a highlight of the Saints play as goals by Connor Hamilton and Cavallaro meant it was 9.0 on the scoreboard.

The Bulldogs lead was whittled to 15 points, but they kicked away as Storm Giri booted three goals in just over 10 minutes and Jordan Ford added another.

There were anxious moments for North Bendigo fans early in the last as Hamilton, Liam Birch and Shaun Harrison were on target for the Saints.

The margin was 15 points again at more than 20 minutes to go and North Bendigo had limited options available from interchange.

The Saints scored 7.3 in a brilliant finish to the contest.

The last of North Bendigo’s three goals in the fourth term was off the boot of talented youngster Zandyr Barilari who has crossed to the Bulldogs from Huntly.

At the final siren, North Bendigo led 18.10 (118) to 17.6 (108).

Leading goalkickers for the Bulldogs were Gray and Klemm on four, Jordan Ford and Storm Giri on three apiece.

The Saints’ attack was led by Kai Cavallaro 4, Liam Birch 3, Connor Hamilton and Braden Padmore 2.

Ford’s play across centre half-back was superb as he was clearly best on ground in a match where Callum Tardrew, Tim Deveraux, Dylan Klemm, Shane Harris and Storm Giri played well.

From the Saints half-back line, Codie Price’s elite foot skills and running ability were a highlight to be Heathcote’s best.

Braden Padmore, Shaun Harrison, Brent Jane, Billy Price, Mitchell McLean also starred in a game the Saints will have gained a lot of confidence from.

The wind did not let up at Colbinabbin in Saturday night’s clash between the Grasshoppers and Elmore at M.J. Morgan Reserve.

The Bloods teamed well to lead 5.2 to 3.3 at quarter-time.

The Julian Bull-coached Grasshoppers scored 7.1 as the Bloods were held to just four points in the second.

Colbinabbin led 93-48 at a quarter to go and slammed on 8.9 to 2.1 in the last.

At the final siren the Grasshoppers led 22.18 (150) to 9.7 (61).

The classy Laine Fitzgerald was in hot form as he kicked six goals for the green and gold as James Brain, four, and Clint Shields, three, capitalised on Colbo’s onball and midfield dominance.

Elmore’s co-coaches, Dylan Friedberger and Dylan Gordon booted two goals apiece, as did Sebastian De Napoli.

The six-goal haul by Laine Fitzgerald earned best-on-ground honours as Todd Clarke, William Lowe, Matt Riordan, Ben Barton and James Brain were Colbinabbin’s best.

On a tough night for the new-look Elmore it was Sam McHale, Tannar Cerrone, Bailey Sawyer, Matt Gilmour, Mitchell Carson, Max Holmberg who did well for the red and white.

Heathcote DFNL senior footy ladder:

Colbinabbin 245 per cent, 4 points; North Bendigo 109, 4; Heathcote 91, 0; Elmore 40, 0; Huntly 0; Leitchville Gunbower 0; Lockington Bamawm United 0; Mount Pleasant 0; White Hills 0.

Highlights of next Saturday’s play will be Colbinabbin against North Bendigo at M.J. Morgan Oval in Colbinabbin, and White Hills up against Lockington Bamawm United in the Demons’ den at Scott Street.

Elmore takes on Mount Pleasant at Elmore Recreation Reserve; and Heathcote meets Huntly on the Saints’ ground at Barrack Reserve.

Leitchville Gunbower has the bye.

First hit-out for the Bombers will be on April 16 on Huntly’s turf at Strauch Reserve.


Written by Nathan Dole.