THE Russell Roulston Cup is in North Bendigo’s hands after the Bulldogs beat Mount Pleasant in Saturday’s start to the Bendigo Bank Heathcote District Football Netball League’s senior footy action.
The Bulldogs and Blues played a great match on North Bendigo’s turf at Hibo Hotel Oval in Atkins Street on a day both clubs honoured a gun key forward from the late 70s and early to mid-80s.
The Rob Bennett-coached North Bendigo made a brilliant start to lead 31-14 at quarter-time.
Across the second and third quarters it was Mounts which took control of many stoppages and centre breaks.
The Bulldogs did plenty of attacking in the second, but added 1.7 to 2.3.
A 15-point deficit at the start of the third term was cut to just three points at a quarter to go after the Adam Baird-coached Blues scored 2.2 to 0.2 in the third term.
In conditions not suited to high marking the ability of the key forwards to knock the ball to roving opponents was crucial.
Bulldogs’ skipper Aarryn Craig was in the right spot to boot consecutive goals to put the Bulldogs in control in the last, but the Blues refused to yield.
The classy Hakeem Johnson also snapped truly, but a long goal by Mounts’ star Ben Weightman made it a goal the difference.
Before a vocal crowd it was North Bendigo which held on for a 69-63 victory.
Skilful wingman Nic Waterson earned the Russell Roulston award for best afield as ruckman Jeremy Lambden, Jake Hall, Aarryn Craig, Jack Francis and Ben Knight all played big roles in the Bulldogs win.
Mount Pleasant’s best were key defender Will Wallace, Adam Baird, Ben Weightman, Riley McNamara, Mitch Rovers and ruckman Chris Down.
Heathcote marked its first senior footy win on Colbinabbin’s turf in a decade.
The Andrew Saladino-coached Saints led 34-14 at quarter-time and 54-21 by the main break at M.J. Morgan Reserve.
Led by the play of ruck-rover Jesse Davies, ruckman Jordan Marcroft, and Shannon Dowsett across half-forward, Heathcote played inspired football against the Jed Brain-coached Colbinabbin.
It was an evenly-matched second half in the wet conditions as both teams added 3.5.
At the final siren, Heathcote led 77-44.
The Saints’ attack was led by Callum Birch, three goals; Dowsett, Corey Grindlay and Liam Jacques on two each.
Colbinabbin’s leading goalkickers were Jai Carn, Laine Fitzgerald and Nick Knight on two.
Best for Heathcote included Liam Birch, Braden Padmore and Codie Price.
The Grasshoppers’ best were Logan and Laine Fitzgerald, Jai Carn, Will Lowe, Luke Moore and Jasper McArdle.
Elmore won the opening three quarters on its way to a 41-point victory on Huntly’s turf at Strauch Reserve.
The Dylan Friedberger-coached Bloods led 28-13 at quarter-time and then scored 3.2 to 1.2 in the second to hold a decisive 27-point lead.
Elmore’s pressure did not ease in the third term which it won 22-2.
The Harry Whittle and Jayden Cordy-coached Hawks fought back to score 2.1 to 1.1 in the last, but it was the Bloods who celebrated a 77-36 victory.
Jordan Buckley led Elmore’s attack on three goals as Mitch Carson added two.
There were no multiple goalkickers for the Hawks.
Switched to a key defensive post, Dylan Gordon was afield for the Bloods as Daniel Russell, Mitch Carson, Sam McHale, Nick Kellow and Lachlan Giffin played well.
Huntly’s best were Harry Campbell, Steve Kairn, Jackson Fry, Abe Sladden, Jayden Cordy and Harry Whittle.
White Hills led 31-6 at half-time of its clash with Leitchville-Gunbower at Leitchville.
In the third it was the Shannon Keam-coached Bombers who fought back brilliantly to score 3.1 to 2.3.
Jointly coached by Jack Fallon and Jake Pallpratt, White Hills responded in the last.
The Demons added 2.5 to a point to record a 63-26 victory.
Goalkicking details for both teams were not supplied.
Best for Leitchville-Gunbower were Jobee Warde, Jye Keath, Mitch Candy, Clay McGregor, Nicholas Horman and Josh Hawken.
Details on White Hills best were not supplied.
Lockington Bamawm United had the bye.
Heathcote DFNL senior footy ladder:
White Hills 242 per cent, 4 points; Elmore 202, 4; Heathcote 175, 4; North Bendigo 109, 4; Mount Pleasant 91, 0; Colbinabbin 57, 0; Huntly 49, 0; Leitchville-Gunbower 41, 0; Lockington Bamawm United 0, 0.
3 Callum Birch, H’cote; Jordan Buckley, Elm.; Aarryn Craig, NB.
2 Corey Grindlay, H’cote; Liam Jacques, H’cote; Nick Knight, C; Riley McNamara, MP; Ben Weightman, MP.
Goalkicking details for Leitchville-Gunbower and White Hills not supplied.
In round two, Lockington Bamawm United will unfurl the 2022 premiership flag before it tackles North Bendigo at Lockington.
Heathcote takes on Leitchville-Gunbower in Saints’ territory at Heathcote’s Barrack Reserve.
Mount Pleasant clashes with Huntly at Toolleen.
Elmore and Colbinabbin meet at Elmore Recreation Reserve.
White Hills has the bye.