Richard Jones | Kangaroo Flat survived a massive last quarter scare from South Bendigo as they booted the last three goals of the day to win a 2014 thriller at Beck Legal Oval.
To make it more special the victory came on the weekend of the Roos’ 150th celebrations during which eight inductees were named in the club’s inaugural Hall of Fame. In front of a legion of former Roo players, committee people and netball stalwarts at their home ground they watched as South hit the front 12 minutes into the last quarter. Then Flat midfielders Luke Lougoon and best afield James Saville rekindled the home side’s run and spread as the Green and Whites nailed the last three goals of the day. In other major news from that 2014 weekend Maryborough celebrated their first victory over Golden Square since 2004 --– a decade-long wait.
The Magpies celebrated their 17.11 to 15.10 victory like they’d won a final. However the other three matches weren’t as thrilling. Gisborne handed Eaglehawk a 17-goal thrashing, Sandhurst shrugged off an early Castlemaine challenge to win by 104 points while Strathfieldsaye consolidated top spot on the ladder with an 83-point belting of Kyneton. That latter win was highlighted by an eight-goal haul from star forward Stephen Milne, with six of the eight posted by half-time. And the Storm went into the game without Milne’s co-stars up forward in Sam Mildren (a late withdrawal on the Saturday) and Tom Bartholomew. Harrison Huntley and Ben Weightman each kicked three goals for the Tigers. But back to the Flat-South match-up which I reported on for the Addy.
South rebounded from a terrible match the week before during which they’d managed just one goal for an entire afternoon’s work. They were equal bottom with the Maine with both clubs on two wins for the season whereas the Roos were on the edge of the Five. Even though the Green and Whites led by 25 points at half-time (7.5 to 3.4) the Bloods upped their tackle count in the third term, ran in numbers, backed each other up and laid tackles relentlessly. They added 3.3 to the Flat’s solitary major and slashed the overall margin to 10 points by the last change. Mitch Hocking had nailed two third term goals with skipper Aaron ‘Azza” Connaughton adding the other.
The last quarter was a beauty. Luke Crawford snapped a great goal for South at the Station Street end to cut the margin to four points. Then Ross Turner landed one of the goals-of-the-day when he soccered home a 10-metre bouncing ball shot before Charles Trotman found Daniel Frew for a South reply. When Rory Alexander drilled his third major from 40 metres out suddenly the unfancied Bloods were in front halfway through the last: 9.8 to 9.6. The Flat dug deep. A long ball from Saville was pounded deep into the front half and marked by Matt Giri. From an angle Giri ran around the man-on-the-mark and nailed his second goal of the day. Soon afterwards a smart handball from Cam Rinaldi to Saville on his preferred left foot ended in a great running goal.
Fittingly, it was Rinaldi who put the result beyond doubt when he marked a Saville pass and drove home his fifth goal of the day. Nick Lang had largely controlled the ruck duels all afternoon, a fact praised by coach Jason ‘Jugga’ Stevens, who said on a big weekend for the club his players had brought the Flat’s “values of mateship, intensity and effort to the contest to get us over the line.” Meanwhile Maryborough big man Tyson MacIlwain, who had never played in a winning side against the Square, said it “was an unbelievable feeling” to score the victory. And considering the win had come just seven days after the Magpies had succumbed to Strath Storm by a massive 141 points it was an even more remarkable achievement.
“Last week was embarrassing,” MacIlwain told the Addy. “So the boys put in a big week on the training track and there was a huge influence on physical pressure around the footy against the Square. “Judging by the win I think we achieved that,” said the Pies prime mover. Jack Daley and Simon Rosa were the only four-quarter performers for the Bulldogs. Meanwhile Maryborough had solid contributors across the board with centre half-forward MacIlwain, running half-back Jayden Hooper (who limited the influence of Corey Jones), 16-year old Coby Perry (four goals), Evan Hurse and ruckman Ryan Connellan all impressed.
Golden Square coach Nick Carter said his side was now locked in a three-way battle with the Flat and Eaglehawk for fourth and fifth ladder positions. “We were beaten by the hardness of the opposition and it’s that hardness which wins you finals footy. “We’ll know more about the shoulder injuries to Jon Coe and Hamish Morcom on Monday but at this stage I wouldn’t have thought we’d have either of them for the rest of the home-and-away season,” Carter said. And star Square midfielder Rick Ladson was still two weeks away with his knee injury.
The remaining trio of games went more or less to script. Ethan Minns (6) and Jarrad Lynch (5) between them booted half of Gissy’s 22-goal total with veteran Shaun Comerford bobbing up with three as the Dogs slaughtered Eaglehawk. Gisborne led 12.7 to 5.0 by half-time and then added 10 goals to 1.3 in the run home. Midfielder Tom May was unstoppable, while wingman Josh Bain, ruckman Tom Waters and Josh Govan were others in the Bulldogs’ best. Eaglehawk lost Ryan Threlfall (shoulder) early in the game while Daniel Johnstone hurt a calf during the second term.
Sandhurst took until midway through the third term to shrug off Castlemaine before kicking away with 16 goals to two after the long break. The Magpies were able to restrict the Dragons to just seven goals for the first two-and-a-half quarters. They were still within striking distance, just 22 points adrift. Then the floodgates finally opened midway through the third term as the Hurst went on their scoring spree over the concluding 41 minutes of the game. The beginning of the end came for the Maine when Sandhurst’s Lachie Ross landed a 45-metre set shot 16 minutes into the third quarter after an earlier goal from Lee Coghlan. Ross’s major sparked five goals in the concluding 11 minutes of the third stanza for the Dragons who opened up a 51-point gap by three-quarter time.
Then they put the Magpies to sword in the run home slamming on 10.6 to 2.1 with Ross finishing with five Hurst goals and Mitch Dole landing three. Best afield Codie Price capped his game off half-back with two last term majors while for the Maine Kaman Ogilvie and ruckman Tom Godsell were handy.
Final scores: Maryborough 17.11 (113) def. G. Square 15.10 (100), Strathfieldsaye 21.16 (142) def. Kyneton 9.5 (59), Kang. Flat 12.10 (82) def. Sth. Bendigo 9.9 (63), Gisborne 22.12 (144) def. Eaglehawk 6.3 (39) and Sandhurst 22.16 (14) def. Castlemaine 6.8 (44).
And who were the Flat inductees into their Hall of Fame five years back. They were the late George Edwards, Daisy Kelsey, Gary Place, Steve Shatwell, Noel McClure, Betty Place, Ron Wicks and Jenni Holborn. The Roos celebrated in style at a gala dinner at the All Seasons in McIvor Road on August 2nd.