BY NATHAN DOLE
GUN forwards Kaiden Antonowicz and Corey Grindlay starred as White Hills took on Heathcote in Saturday night’s third round clash in the Bendigo Bank Heathcote FNL’s senior footy competition.
Both were in superb touch throughout a brilliant contest between the Demons and Saints under the White Hills lights at Winslow Constructors Oval in Scott Street.
It was a red-hot start by the Demons who replied to Grindlay’s first goal of the match by scoring the next six.
Joint coaches Jack Fallon and Jake Pallpratt were often the springboard from half-back as the Demons shut down the Saints’ attacking forays with ease.
By quarter-time the Demons led 45-21.
A hat-trick of goals by White Hills at the start of the season had the Andrew Saladino-coached Heathcote team and fans looking at a scoreboard that read 64-21.
The Saints then lifted their pressure to win a lot more centre ball-ups and stoppages.
A run of three unanswered goals, which included onballer Liam Jacques and the classy Grindlay on target to end the half cut the Demons lead to 24 points by half-time.
The margin was quickly back to 41 by the 4 ½ minute mark of the third quarter.
Whatever was said in the Saints’ rooms at the break sparked them.
A Callum Birch shapshot went through and was followed by majors to Kai Cavallaro, Grindlay, Liam Birch and Grindlay again to be without 12 points at the 17-minute mark.
A running shot from the boundary in the Botanical Gardens pocket by Braden Padmore at the Scott Street end put the passionate Saints fans into a frenzy.
When Shannon Dowsett gathered and goaled from a defensive turnover on a kick-in the Saints were up 98-92.
Grindlay kicked his seventh in the second-minute mark of the last quarter.
A run of eight goals by Heathcote was finally broken when James Davies goaled for the Demons.
An attacking run by Henry McCarthy from half-back and down the clubrooms wing was capped with another Grindlay goal.
It would then be the turn of Antonowicz to have a big say on the result.
A brilliant soccer goal by the gun recruit from South Bendigo in the 18th minute was followed by his ninth of the match when shepherded in a marking contest.
The Saints ran the ball the length of the ground, but the shot at goal was off target.
Another point a few minutes later by the Demons was soon followed by the siren as the Demons celebrated a 115-113 victory.
Antonowicz and Nick Warnock led the White Hills attack on nine and four goals.
Grindlay finished the match with eight goals.
Although disappointed by the result, there was plenty to like about the spirit of the Saints.
Heathcote went into the match without gun half-back and captain Codie Price, and also had Jesse Davies out of the game after injuring an Achilles in the first term, and Liam Jacques out of the game early in the second half because of concussion.
White Hills did not have classy small forward Mitch Dole or Tom Brereton play in this match.
Despite the appearance of the McEvoy brothers – Ben, Peter and Matt for a special “one-off” match, Colbinabbin could take the points against Mount Pleasant.
A big crowd packed M.J. Morgan Reserve in Colbinabbin to watch Ben, aka Big Boy, a dual premiership player with Hawthorn play the final match of a brilliant career.
The Jed Brain-coached Grasshoppers made a brilliant start to lead 21-9 at quarter-time.
It was in quarters two and four where Mounts took control.
A tally of 6.4 to 1.2 in the second gave the Blues a 20-point lead by half-time.
Colbinabbin hit back to win the third, 18-15, but it was Mounts which finished strongly.
The Blues added 6.2 to a goal in the last to complete a 102-53 victory.
Small forwards Ben Weightman and Mitch Rovers continued their great run with four and three goals.
Just as important was the work of a Blues defence led by William Wallace and Michael Whiting that kept Peter McEvoy to a goal, and Ben McEvoy goalless.
Top ruckman Chris Down earned best afield for the Blues as Wallace, coach Adam Baird, Roves, Weightman and Tyler McNamara all played big roles in a win that has put the Blues on top of the ladder.
Colbinabbin’s best were Laine Fitzgerald, Ben Barton, Luke Moore, Jasper McArdle, Connor Aldous and Matt McEvoy.
Elmore worked hard for a 25-point win on Leitchville Gunbower’s turf at Leitchville.
The Dylan Friedberger-coached Bloods led 42-38 at half-time and scored 5.1 to 3.1 in the third term.
Led by the play of Darcy Laffy who kicked six goals in a best on ground performance, plus Rhys Holmberg and ruckman Daniel Russell, Elmore won a tough contest, 89-64.
The Bloods also had Jordan Buckley boot four goals.
Leitchville Gunbower’s attack was led by Chris Horman, three; James Barratt and Zeb Ellwood, two.
Elmore’s best included Liam Gundry, Sam McHale and Mitchell Carson.
Jobee Warde, Jye Keath, Billy Hawken, Zeb Ellwood, Mitch Candy and Josh Hawken were best for the Shannon Keam-coached Bombers.
After a final quarter fade-out the previous round, Lockington Bamawm United made a brilliant start to its match against Huntly on the Hawks’ turf at Specialist Breeders Australia Oval in Strauch Reserve.
The LBU line-up led 41-14 by the first break.
There was plenty of spice in this match as Huntly’s long-time coach Stacy Fiske is now playing coach of the LBU Cats.
It was Collins and Collins, Jesse and Brodie who dominated a lot of the play.
Jesse kicked a match-high five goals and Brodie added three as LBU went on to win 131-59.
A high for the Harry Whittle and Jayden Cordy-coached Huntly was a 19-14 victory in the final term.
Key forward Lachy Wilson was recruited from Kangaroo Flat and led Huntly’s attack on four goals as Lachlan Watson added two.
Best for the Cats included Thomas Douglas, Max Johnson, Jake Rorke and Riley McIvor.
Tori Ferguson, Kyle Forster, Josh Hull, Lachlan Watson, Lachy Wilson and Brad Chalmers played well for the Hawks.
North Bendigo had the bye.
Heathcote DFNL senior footy ladder:
Mount Pleasant 193 per cent, 8 points; Heathcote 167, 8; Elmore 135, 8; White Hills 128, 8; North Bendigo 109, 8; Lockington Bamawm United 135, 4; Colbinabbin 67, 4; Leitchville Gunbower 44, 0; Huntly 40, 0.
18 Corey Grindlay, Heathcote.
14 Ben Weightman, Mount Pleasant.
12 Kaiden Antonowicz, White Hills.
10 Mitch Rovers, Mount Pleasant.
8 Darcy Laffy, Elmore.
7 Jordan Buckley, Elmore.
7 Jesse Collins, LBU.
7 Laine Fitzgerald, Colbinabbin.
In next Saturday’s fourth round, Lockington Bamawm United meets Colbinabbin at Lockington in the rematch of last season’s preliminary finalists.
Elmore hosts White Hills on the Bloods’ turf.
Mount Pleasant takes on Leitchville Gunbower at Toolleen.
Refreshed by the bye, North Bendigo is back on its ground at Hibo Hotel Oval in Atkins Street to play Huntly.
Heathcote has the bye.