GISBORNE has moved a win clear of its closest challengers at the top of the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s senior footy ladder at the fifth-round mark.
Not only did Gisborne win Saturday’s thrilling contest on Strathfieldsaye’s turf at Triple M Park, but Sandhurst marked an upset win at Golden Square to retain the Ron Best Memorial Shield.
Other results in the Love The Game, Not The Odds round went as expected as Kyneton, South Bendigo and Eaglehawk took the premiership points.
Although neither team was at full-strength before or during the game, Strathfieldsaye and Gisborne put on a tremendous show for the fans.
Storm led 24-21 at quarter-time, but the Bulldogs seized control in the second term to score 5.2 to 2.1.
The Rob Waters-coached Gisborne began the second half 16 points in front and the margin became 18 by the last change.
Storm coaches Darryl Wilson and Shannon Geary swung the changes to telling effect as Strathfieldsaye surged to hit the front with just minutes to play.
It was Gisborne which regained the lead through a Matthew Panuccio goal and held on for an 11.17 (83) to 12.56 (77) victory.
Matthew Merrett led the Bulldogs’ attack on four goals as the strong-marking Josh Kemp and classy Ethan Foreman added two each.
It was a dramatic change to Storm’s forward line after full-forward Lachlan Sharp was sidelined for the rest of the match after he hurt his groin in the opening term.
James Schischka was a great target across half-forward or closer to goal and finished with two majors, a feat matched by Shannon Geary.
Key forward Jack Scanlon was switched to the ruck and went on to be Gisborne’s best along with defenders Jaidyn Owen and Jack Reaper, and forwards Merrett, Kemp and Panuccio.
Storm’s best were Schischka, Lachlan Ratcliffe, Kallen Geary, Mitch Hallinan, Thomas Bennett and Daniel Clohesy.
Sandhurst marked a stunning upset on Golden Square’s turf at Fur Life Oval in Wade Street.
The unbeaten Bulldogs were aiming to add to their winning run, but it was the Dragons who fired up in a match which honors Ron Best who hit the 1624 goal mark across stints with Golden Square, Sandhurst and Northern United.
In Saturday’s second clash for the Ron Best Shield it was Square which led 19-15 at quarter-time, but the Ash Connick-coached Dragons won the second term, 21-2, to hold a 15-point lead at the main break.
Sandhurst’s buffer was 10 points at the start of the last term.
Inspired by the play of Lee Coghlan, Tanner Nally and ruckman Hamish Hosking it was the Dragons who matched the Dogs’ fight in the last, 25-23 to win 12.10 (82) to 10.10 (70).
Cobi Maxted again led Sandhurst’s attack on three goals as Lachlan Zimmer chipped in with two.
Golden Square’s leading goalkicker was Jayden Burke on three in a contest where the Dragons’ defence held the dangerous Joel Brett to a goal.
The other multiple goalkicker for the blue and gold was Jarrod Fitzpatrick with two.
The Dragons’ best included Sean O’Farrell, James Coghlan and Lachlan Murdoch.
Best for Golden Square were Liam Duguid, Liam Barrett, Jarrod Fitzpatrick, Jack Merrin, Tom Strauch and Jon Coe.
Kyneton dominated the second half of the clash on Kangaroo Flat’s ground at Dower Park to win by 78 points.
At the end of a closely-fought first hour it was the Tigers in front, 49-35.
After the break the yellow and black set up waves of attacks and slammed on 9.2 to 1.2 in the third term to lead 105-43 at a quarter to go.
Frazer Driscoll, Harrison Huntley and Dean Bartrop all played key roles for the Tigers as Cameron Manuel kicked a team-high six goals and Rhys Magin, three, James Gaff and Cameron Wallace, two, were on target.
The only multiple goalkicker for the James Flaherty-coached Kangaroos was Ethan Roberts with two.
Kyneton’s best included Mason Crozier, Louis Thompson and Hamish Yunghanns.
After such a spirited start it was a disappointing result for the Flat in which Liam Collins, Ryan O’Keefe, Mitch Rovers, Ethan Roberts, Patrick Murphy and Nic Keogh were best.
South Bendigo slammed on the first 12 goals of the clash with Castlemaine at Queen Elizabeth Oval to put the result beyond doubt by half-time.
Bloods’ on-baller Cooper Leon showed plenty of skill inside the forward 50m arc to kick six goals as Kaiden Antonowicz, five; Alex Smith, three, and Brock Harvey, two, also did well against the Pies’ defence.
The Don Moran-coached Magpies worked hard to score four goals in the second half after being held to a score of 1.4 in the first.
Zac Denahy kicked two goals for Castlemaine.
At the final siren the Nathan Horbury-coached South Bendigo led 23.13 (151) to 5.7 (37).
The Bloods’ best were Isaiah Miller, Cooper Leon, Michael Herlihy, Nathan Horbury, Liam Byrne and Daniel Johnstone.
Tom Cain, Tommy Horne, Riley Pedretti, Will Moran, Jack Chester and Dakota Slingo were Castlemaine’s best.
It was 40 scoring shots to eight as Eaglehawk dominated play on Maryborough’s turf at Princes Park.
The Travis Matheson-coached Eaglehawk led 63-7 at half-time and went on to win 20.20 (140) to 2.6 (18).
Sam Dean booted five goals for the Hawks as Lewin Davis and Ben Thompson chipped in with three apiece.
Maryborough’s goalkickers were talented youngster Aidan Hare and Chris Freeman.
Hawks’ onballers or midfielders Billy Evans, Dillon Williams, Joel Mullen and Fraser Verhey won plenty of the ball as Jack Thompson and Shaun Knott were also among the best.
Hare, Kya Lanfranchi, Thomas Gardam, Lachlan Hull, Jayden Hooper and Liam Murphy were best for the Rick Andrews-coached Maryborough.
Highlight of Saturday’s start to the split sixth round will be Gisborne against South Bendigo at Gardiner Reserve.
Kyneton takes on a Golden Square line-up on the rebound from defeat in the Tigers’ den at Kyneton Showgrounds.
Castlemaine and Kangaroo Flat clash in the Magpies’ nest at Camp Reserve.
Strathfieldsaye and Maryborough do battle on Storm’s turf at Triple M Park in Tannery Lane.
The round will be completed on May 21 with the stand-alone match between Sandhurst and Eaglehawk at Queen Elizabeth Oval for the Pat Cronin Foundation.
Bendigo FNL senior footy ladder:
Gisborne 332 per cent, 20 points; Golden Square 270, 16; Strathfieldsaye 154, 16; Eaglehawk 147, 12; South Bendigo 104, 12; Sandhurst 105, 8; Kyneton 103, 8; Kangaroo Flat 59, 4; Castlemaine 34, 4; Maryborough 23, 0.
Ron Best Medal, goalkicking award:
25 Joel Brett, GS.
21 Jayden Burke, GS; Rhys Magin, Kyn.; Lachlan Sharp, S’saye.
18 Pat McKenna, Gis.
16 Josh Kemp, Gis.
15 Brock Harvey, SB; Cobi Maxted, Sh.
13 Darcy Richards, Eh; Jack Scanlon, Gis.
12 Kaiden Antonowicz, SB.
11 Ryan Pretty, Kyn.
10 Cameron Manuel, Kyn.; James Schischka, S’saye; Ben Thompson, Eh.
9 Ethan Foreman, Gis; Tom Strauch, GS.
8 Lewin Davis, Eh; Chris Freeman, Mb; Cooper Leon, SB; Liam Marciano, Eh; Matthew Merrett, Gis.; Lachy Wilson, KF.
7 Jack Chester, Cm; Alexander Smith, SB; Braydon Vaz, GS.
6 Sam Barnes, KF; Brad Bernacki, Gis.; Riley Clarke, S’saye; Sam Dean, Eh; Bailey Henderson, Cm; Shaun Knott, Eh; Matthew Panuccio, Gis.; Mitch Rovers, KF; Matt Thornton, Sh.