SOUTH Bendigo regained the Graeme Wright Cup after it beat Sandhurst by eight points in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s round three match on Saturday.
The Bloods and Dragons went into the Anzac Round clash at Queen Elizabeth Oval on a 0-2 record.
There was plenty for both clubs to play for.
South Bendigo determined to win a match which honours Graeme Wright, a popular clubman, key defender throughout the 80s, former coach, and BFNL Hall of Fame member.
Sandhurst onballer Blair Holmes contested his 200th senior match for the club.
Holmes was captain of the 2016 senior premiership team and his ability to win the ball in the clinches and also lay big bumps and tackles have been two of the many strengths in his run to the milestone.
The return of gun forward Kaiden Antonowicz after being sidelined for the match at Eaglehawk the previous round was a huge plus for the Bloods.
South Bendigo led 26-17 at quarter-time and 61-45 by the long break as onballers Liam Byrne and Cooper Leon won plenty of the ball.
An evenly-fought third quarter ended with South Bendigo in front, 88-71.
Led by the play of Cobi Maxted in attack, ruckman Hamish Hosking and the skilful Joel Wharton and Noah Walsh, Sandhurst won the final term, 15-6, but it was the Bloods who claimed their first premiership points of the season in a 94-86 victory.
A previous winner of the Ron Best Medal as the BFNL’s leading goalkicker, Antonowicz led South Bendigo’s attack on six goals as Brock Harvey added three.
Maxted marked a great match by kicking six goals for the Dragons as Joel Wharton added two.
South Bendigo’s best incluced Daniel Johnstone, Isaiah Miller, Braydan Torpey, Michael Herlihy, Byrne and Leon.
The Dragons’ best included Zach Pallpratt and Cooper Smith.
It was a terrific first half between Strathfieldsaye and Kyneton on Storm’s turf at Triple M Park in Tannery Lane.
Storm led 30-22 at quarter-time, but the Paul Chapman-coached Kyneton kept the heat on as Storm led 45-43 at the end of the second term.
Strathfieldsaye broke the contest wide open in the third term to score 5.5 to 2.2 as Jake Moorhead, Lachlan Ratcliffe, Riley Wilson and Kallen Geary featured in plenty of the play.
A Storm attack that included Lachlan Sharp, Caleb Ernst and Riley Clarke, who all finished with three goals apiece, played a big part in the 123-77 victory for the Darryl Wilson and Shannon Geary-coached line-up.
A gun onballer for many seasons with Kyneton, Rhys Magin starred in the forward 50m arc once again to kick a match-high five goals for the yellow and black.
Best for the Tigers were Mitch Comben, Frazer Driscoll, Dean Bartrop and Bailey McGee.
Eaglehawk charged clear in the final term to score a 49-point victory on Kangaroo Flat’s ground at Dower Park.
The Hawks made a strong start to lead 46-24 at quarter-time and held a 29-point buffer by the long break.
Kangaroo Flat lifted its workrate at stoppages in the third term and was rewarded by scoring 4.5 to 3.1 to be within 19 points at a quarter to go.
It was the Travis Matheson-coached Eaglehawk which was led by the play of Kobe Lloyd, Lewin Davis and Liam Marciano which lifted in the last 30 minutes to score 6.3 to 1.3.
Marciano and in-form key forward Darcy Richards finished with a match-high four goals as Shaun Knott and Kobe Lloyd added three in the 137-88 victory for the Hawks.
Leading goalkickers for the James Flaherty-coached Roos were Lachy Wilson, three; Mitchell Holt and Mitch Rovers, two each.
The Hawks’ best included Charlie Laangford, key defender Oscar Madden, and Ben Thompson.
Best for the Roos were not supplied.
Gisborne blitzed Castlemaine at Gardiner Reserve.
After a breakthrough victory at Maryborough in round two, Castlemaine headed to the kennel confident of being far more competitive than recent seasons.
It was not to be as Gisborne’s red-hot form rolled on.
Bulldogs’ captain Pat McKenna kicked 14 goals; Jack Scanlon added four and Scott Walsh chipped in with three in a score of 34.21 (225).
Just as importantly was Gisborne’s defensive pressure all over the field as the Magpies were held to just two points.
Onballer Brad Bernacki was likely to have featured in Michelsen Medal voting after another best afield performance as McKenna, Sebastien Bell-Bartels, Sam Graham, Jack Scanlon and James Fox were best for the Rob Waters-coached Gisborne.
On another tough afternoon for the Don Moran-coached Magpies it was Brendan Josey, Liam Wilkinson, Declan Slingo and Riley Pedretti who were best.
Golden Square key forwards Jayden Burke and Joel Brett had a day out in the clash with Maryborough at Fur Life Oval in Wade Street.
The Bulldogs led 53-0 at quarter-time and the margin was 114 by the main break after a scoreless first hour for the Magpies.
Burke and Brett were on the end of many attacking moves on the way to hauls of 10 and six goals as the blue and gold won 36.19 (235) to 2.5 (17).
Burke earned best afield honours as Braydon Vaz, Liam Barrett, Brett, Tom Strauch and Jarrod Fitzpatrick were Square’s best.
Coby Perry, Kya Lanfranchi, Aidan Hare and Thomas Gardam worked hard for the Rick Andrews-coached Magpies.
Bendigo FNL senior footy ladder:
Golden Square 436 per cent, 12 points; Gisborne 393, 12; Strathfieldsaye 136, 12; Eaglehawk 138, 8; Kyneton 81, 4; Kangaroo Flat 73, 4; South Bendigo 68, 4; Castlemaine 42, 4; Sandhurst 78, 0; Maryborough 30, 0.
Leaders in the Ron Best Medal, goalkicking award:
21 Joel Brett, GS.
19 Pat McKenna, Gis.
16 Jayden Burke, GS.
13 Rhys Magin, Kyn.; Darcy Richards, Eh.
12 Lachlan Sharp, S’saye.
10 Brock Harvey, SB.
8 Jack Scanlon, Gis.
7 Kaiden Antonowicz, SB; Jack Chester, Cm; Josh Kemp, Gis.; James Schischka, S’saye; Braydon Vaz, GS.
6 Riley Clarke, S’saye; Chris Freeman, Mb; Bailey Henderson, Cm; Cobi Maxted, Sh; Ryan Pretty, Kyn.; Mitch Rovers, KF; Tom Strauch, GS; Ben Thompson, Eh; Lachy Wilson, KF.
5 Lewin Davis, Eh; Guy Dickson, Kyn.; Ethan Foreman, Gis.; Mitchell Holt, KF; Kobe Lloyd, Eh; Liam Marciano, Eh; Joel Wharton, Sh.
4 Caleb Ernst, S’saye; Tommy Horne, Cm; Shaun Knott, Eh; Cameron Manuel, Kyn.; Matthew Merrett, Gis.; Matthew Panuccio, Gis.
Highlights of next Saturday’s fourth round will be the Eaglehawk and Golden Square showdown in the Hawks’ nest at Canterbury Park.
Sandhurst takes on Kangaroo Flat at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Kyneton and South Bendigo clash at Tigerland in Kyneton Showgrounds.
Castlemaine faces Strathfieldsaye at Camp Reserve.
Maryborough meets a red-hot Gisborne at Princes Park.
All matches start at 2.20pm.
Written by Nathan Dole.