BY NATHAN DOLE
HEATHCOTE coach Andrew Saladino praised the players resilience after Saturday’s round six win against Mount Pleasant in the Bendigo Bank Heathcote DFNL season.
The Saints did not march to victory on Mounts’ turf at Toolleen, but a hard-fought victory for the Cliff and Peter White Memorial Cup showed Heathcote is a force to be reckoned with.
A combination of injury, illness and unavailability meant the Saints made five changes to a winning line-up from the previous round.
Heathcote was also up against an opponent on a four-game winning streak.
Among the moves for the Saints were gun midfielder Braden Padmore playing in the ruck for first-choice ruckman Jordan Marcroft.
It was a huge challenge for Padmore, but he competed superbly against Blues’ gun Chris Down.
Mount Pleasant co-coach and star on-baller Adam Baird did not play because of an ankle injury.
The Saints made a great start to lead 20-6 at quarter-time, but Mounts won the second, 32-26.
It was a fiercely fought third quarter in which Heathcote added 2.3 to 2.1.
Mount Pleasant did all the attacking in the last term, but was wayward near goal.
The Blues scored 1.8 as the Saints added 2.1 to complete a 74-65 victory.
Saladino said Heathcote’s workrate at centre clearances and stoppages played a crucial part in the win.
“It was an area we identified we had to do well to be a chance of beating the Blues.
“Clearances and stoppages the previous two matches had been down, so the boys worked really hard to improve that area.”
Gun forward Corey Grindlay kicked five goals to now lead the league’s goalkicking race on 31.
The Saints had six other goalkickers.
Mount Pleasant stars Ben Weightman and Mitch Rovers were held to tallies of two and one goals by William Direen and Codie Price respectively.
Mitch Bennett and Fletcher White chipped in with two goals each for the Blues.
Heathcote’s best were Braden Padmore, Connor Hamilton, William Direen, Will Long, Liam Jacques and Kai Cavallaro.
Riley McNamara, Bryce Hinneberg, Fletcher White, William Wallace, Mitchell Bennett and Bailey White played well for Mounts.
Four goals to one in the third quarter put White Hills in control of its clash on Lockington Bamawm United’s turf at Lockington.
Both teams were on the rebound from defeat.
LBU led 32-27 at quarter-time and 51-47 by the main break.
In the third it was White Hills, jointly coached by Jack Fallon and Jake Pallpratt, which surged clear.
The Demons scored 4.4 to 1.2 to open up a 16-point lead at a quarter to go.
LBU won the last, 15-13, but it was the Demons who took the points, 88-74, and marked victory on the Cats’ ground for the first time in several years.
The classy Kaiden Antonowicz played a mix of forward and midfield and kicked five goals for the Demons.
Other multiple goalkickers for White Hills were Cohen Kekich, three; Mitch Dole and David Wright, two.
The Cats’ attack was led by Anthony McMahon, four; Thomas Leech, three; and Baxter Anderson, two.
Best for White Hills were Nicholas Warnock and Jake Pallpratt across half-back, Nathan Moffat, Cohen Kekich, Brady Childs and David Wright.
Thomas Leech, Jacob Gardiner, Baxter Anderson, Stanley Brentnall, Anthony McMahon and Tyler Phillips were best for the Stacy Fiske-coached LBU.
Colbinabbin was under pressure going into the third term of its clash with Huntly at Specialist Breeders Australia Oval in Huntly’s Strauch Reserve.
The Huntly Hawks turned a five-point deficit at the start of the second into a 14-point lead by half-time after they scored 4.3 to 1.2 in term two.
It was Colbinabbin which lifted its intensity at the contest and did the most of the attacking in the third quarter.
The Grasshoppers scored 5.3 to 1.2.
Colbinabbin added seven behinds to a point in the final term to complete a 61-44 victory.
Jackson Barnett and Jimmy McMurtrie kicked two goals each for the green and gold.
Huntly’s attack was led by co-coach Harry Whittle, three; and Lachy Wilson, two.
Best for the Jed Brain-coached Colbinabbin were Ben Barton, Riley Hogan, Kyle Williamson, Connor Aldous, Jimmy McMurtrie and Jasper McArdle.
Harry Whittle, Jackson Fry, Lachlan Watson, Lachy Wilson, Steve Kairn and Mitch Billings were best for a Huntly line-up jointly coached by Jayden Cordy.
An eight-goal haul by triple premiership player Jordan Ford was a driving force in North Bendigo’s win against Leitchville Gunbower at Hibo Hotel Oval in North Bendigo’s Atkins Street.
The Bulldogs were wary of the LG line-up which had beaten Lockington Bamawm United at Leitchville the previous round.
North’s ruck depth was also tested as Jeremy Lambden and Brodie Thomson were out injured.
The Bulldogs brought in Ryan Gow, and Denzel Cooper played his first senior match.
Both competed well against the talented Jobee Warde.
There was plenty of attacking in the first quarter as the Bulldogs scored 4.3 and the Bombers kept the pressure up with a tally of 4.2.
In the second it was Ford who capped off several of North’s attacks.
The Bulldogs added 5.5 to 2.0.
Ford had reached the six-goal mark as the Dogs led 62-38 at half-time.
Avoiding another third-quarter fadeout was a focus for the Robert Bennett-coached North Bendigo.
The Shannon Keam-coached Bombers worked hard, but a score of 1.5 was not enough reward for effort as the Dogs added 2.3.
Consecutive goals at the start of the final term put Leitchville Gunbower back within 22 points, but it was Dogs’ captain Aaryn Craig who sparked his team.
A great snapshot from the pocket at the pavilion end after he roved a marking contest brought up Craig’s first goal of the contest.
Shortly after and it was Craig on target with a soccer kick from near the goalmouth.
Ford was on target and Ben Knight booted his second major as the Bulldogs kicked away to record a 119-68 victory.
Cody Riddick was North Bendigo’s other multiple goalkicker on two.
Best for the Bulldogs were Jordan Ford, vice-captain Tim Devereaux, Matt Gray and Layton Ross across half-back, Aaryn Craig, and the versatile Rhys Healey.
Goals and best players for Leitchville Gunbower were not supplied.
Elmore had the bye.
Heathcote DFNL senior footy ladder:
North Bendigo 144 per cent, 20 points; Mount Pleasant 185, 16; Heathcote 154, 16; White Hills 124, 16; Lockington Bamawm United 107, 8; Colbinabbin 84, 8; Elmore 83, 8; Leitchville Gunbower 53, 4; Huntly 42, 0.
31 Corey Grindlay, Heathcote.
29 Ben Weightman, Mount Pleasant.
22 Kaiden Antonowicz, White Hills.
22 Jordan Ford, North Bendigo.
19 Mitch Rovers, Mount Pleasant.
16 Lachy Wilson, Huntly.
12 Darcy Laffy, Elmore.
11 Laine Fitzgerald, Colbinabbin.
11 Chris Horman, Leitchville Gunbower.
11 Dylan Klemm, North Bendigo.
11 Thomas Leech, Lockington Bamawm United.
11 Anthony McMahon, Lockington Bamawm United.
In next Saturday’s seventh round, White Hills and North Bendigo clash in the Demons’ den at Winslow Constructors Oval in Scott Street at 2.30pm.
Heathcote tackles Lockington Bamawm United on the Saints’ turf at Barrack Reserve.
Leitchville Gunbower is back at Leitchville to take on Huntly.
Elmore hosts Mount Pleasant at Elmore Recreation Reserve.
Colbinabbin has the bye.