CHFL round 16how it happened

ATTACK: Bungaree forward Shaun Finlayson in action on Saturday against Hepburn. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric.Bungaree 12.15 (87) d Hepburn 9.11 (65)

By Tim O’Connor

A BRILLIANT third-quarter blitz all but locked away Bungaree’s top four spot on Saturday.

In what proved an even battle for much of the contest with Hepburn, the Demons displayed their best in a 25-minute period after half time en route to a 22-point win.

Hepburn led the contest at quarter time and trailed by just four points at the long break, before the home side put the foot down.

Bungaree was relentless in its attack and such was its dominance, Burras spearhead Lee Cox was even thrown to defence.

With the likes of Marty Dufty and debutante Grant Trevenen instrumental, the Demons kicked six goals to open up a match-winning 39-point lead at the final change.

Hepburn refused to lie down, and with Brad and Andy McKay and Jarrod James kicking the first four goals of the last term between them, the Burras had the slightest of sniffs. That was until Henri-Claude Griffiths charged into an open goal to seal the Demons’ triumph.

Saturday’s win leaves Bungaree third, and while on the same points as fourth-placed Waubra and fifth-placed Gordon, a big percentage means only a loss to Creswick and a tie in the game between the Roos and Eagles could see it miss a double chance in finals.

“It was really pleasing after half time to come out and play the way we did,” Demons coach Heath Pyke said.

“It wasn’t probably the best way to finish off, but probably being down one or two rotations on the bench had a little bit to do with it. The boys were out on their feet a little bit.”

It was a solid team performance by the Demons, with many players having an influence at different stages during the afternoon.

Arguably the best of those was Dufty, who kicked two goals and had a hand in others. David Benson was good in the ruck and around the ground, Mitch Bowman stood up in the absence of fellow forward Luke Mirtschin – who is nursing a nasty thumb injury – to boot three majors, Mitch Bruns offered drive out of defence and veteran onballer Chris O’Keefe was lively at times.

In a blow, Demons goal-kicker Christian Elliott left the field early with a rib issue.

For Hepburn, Andy McKay was a clear best on ground, kicking three goals.

Gordon 18.11 (119) d Creswick 9.11 (65)

By Tim O’Connor

GORDON warmed up for its blockbuster round 17 showdown with Waubra by beating Creswick on Saturday.

The Eagles brushed aside the Wickers in the first half before the visitors showed plenty of fight in the third term.

Gordon led the match by 52 points at the main break, but Creswick hit back with five goals to one to trail by just 23 points at the final change.

The revival was short-lived, however, as the hosts finished full of running to win the clash by 54 points.

Steve Nicholson kicked five goals for the winners, with Gordon coach Gary Learmonth rating the performances of Ash Munari, Mick Nolan, Adam Toohey and Mitchell Lawrence as best in the triumph.

Matt Miller, Aaron Hepworth and Ryan Pompe were the better contributors for Creswick.

Fifth-placed Gordon remains level on points with fourth-placed Waubra, which it meets in a battle for the remaining place in the top four next weekend. The winner will claim a double chance in finals.

Buninyong 12.5 (77) d Ballan 8.15 (63)

By John McGregor

BUNINYONG hung on by the skin of its teeth to shrug off a serious challenge from Ballan on Saturday afternoon.

The Blues had chances to blow the Bombers out of the water, but in the end kicked themselves out of the game and Central Highlands Football League finals calculations with inaccuracy in front of goal.

Ballan is now eight points adrift of the top eight with just one round of the home and away campaign to play. Meanwhile, Buninyong has all but secured the minor premiership ahead of next weekend’s encounter with lowly Clunes.

The Bombers scraped over the line by 14 points on Saturday and it hurt.

Alec Wiltshire was taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg and 100-gamer Tyler Dittloff only lasted a quarter before retiring with injury.

Co-coach Jarrod Morgan was worse for wear and concussed after a heavy collision in the final term.

From the first bounce, Ballan took the lead and kept the Bombers scoreless until a five-minute burst of three goals at the end of the term put them on the scoreboard.

Ballan troubled Buninyong with hard, physical football and this rattled a team known for its cool and clinical playbook.

A 13-point lead going into the last half didn’t seem enough for the Bombers as Ballan was pressing hard.

The Blues started the third term with a goal by Chris Povey in less than a minute and that cut the margin to six points.

But Bomber forwards Joel Ottavi, Sam Turner, Chris Wills and Josh Renga curbed the attack, kicking four goals between them to settle the side and take a 22-point buffer into the final term.

Zac Peoples led the Blues’ campaign in the last quarter with two goals and a quick snap by Nick Thacker trimmed the Bombers’ lead to eight points.

However, the last-gasp comeback was cut short when Bomber Jake Dunne marked and converted.

Ottavi kicked three majors and Dunne and Turner booted two each for Buninyong.

Among the best for the Bombers were Jack Robertson, Adam Scott, Alex Bomitali and Beau Guest.

“We did enough to get the win,” Buninyong co-coach Jake Bridges said after the triumph.

Jack Gibbs and Peoples were the only multiple goal-scorers for Ballan with two each.

Great performances for Ballan included those by Darren Tanti, Dylan Galea, Jake Wilkie and Jason McNamara.

“Our effort, our commitment, our desire was sensational,” was how Ballan coach Justin McConnell summed up the result.

The Blues will finish their first season under McConnell with a trip to take on finals-bound Hepburn next weekend.

Beaufort 27.15 (177) d Clunes 4.6 (30)

By Tim O’Connor

LACHLAN Murray and Jack Duke kicked seven goals each to help Beaufort crush Clunes by 147 points.

Defender Zac Marrow was a standout for the winners, while midfielder Mick Foster also shone in the triumph.

In a blow, onballer Jayden Orr suffered another hamstring injury and is now in a race against time to be fit for the finals.

For the Magpies, ruckman Mark Paramonov and coach Ryan Hudson-Morgan were among Clunes’ best.

Learmonth 12.11 (83) d Dunnstown 4.6 (30)

By Scot Nicholson

DUNNSTOWN’S chances of playing finals football for the first time since 2011 was brought to an end as a result of losing to Learmonth by 53 points on Saturday.

The Towners were officially eliminated from the Central Highlands Football League playoff race when it was confirmed that Daylesford had defeated Smythesdale to clinch the final top eight berth.

A season of varied results has left Dunnstown coach Justin Abrams seeking more commitment from his playing group.

“We’re either very good or very bad, and today we were very bad,” Abrams said.

“The boys need to commit to football more and it’s really hard to develop a club when the players don’t train enough to achieve success.”

An array of set play turnovers enabled the Lakies to pounce on easy scoring opportunities and this theme continued throughout the encounter.

Aaron Sawers was named best on ground for Dunnstown, while Rhys Chair was the only multiple scorer with two goals.

Learmonth coach Brenton Powell told The Courier he was excited by the style of football his squad demonstrated.

“When it gets to the stage where you can’t make finals you need to do something to get the boys motivated, so we looked at finishing off Dunnstown’s season as a goal heading into the game,” he said.

Patrick McGuigan and Dyson George booted two majors each in the victory, while 15-year- old Cody Lowe capped off his senior debut for the Lakies in brilliant fashion on the wing.

Daylesford 24.10 (154) d Smythesdale 5.6 (36)

By Louis Gillett

DAYLESFORD veteran Rob Rodgers celebrated his 250th club game in style as the Bulldogs demolished Smythesdale to secure their return to finals.

Rodgers was elected one of the best afield for the home side in the 118-point triumph at Victoria Park.

Putting in a typically industrious shift across half ­back, the captain sent the fans into raptures in the final term when he forayed forward and kicked a rare major.

“It’s always nice to go forward and get a goal, especially in the 250th game,” Rodgers said post-­game.

“But at the end of the day, it’s about the team, not the individual.

“If I’m in the side, playing my role and helping the team play winning footy, then I’ll always be pretty happy with my own performance.”

Saturday’s win, combined with Ballan and Dunnstown defeats, leaves Daylesford two games clear in eighth spot with just one round of the home and away season to come.

Daylesford scrapped to a 16-point lead at the first break, but Smythesdale continued to fight hard across the ground and faced a four-goal deficit at the main break.

Jayson Gilbert was performing well for the visitors, and was aided well by Rylan Rattley and Jackson Cranny.

While the travellers continued to battle, the hosts opened up a 40 point lead at the final break, before a jaw­dropping 13-goal fourth quarter turned the contest into a rout.

Ken Cummings and Jordan Alexander were in fine form, booting four goals apiece as a part of a productive forward combination.

Springbank 22.16 (148) d Rokewood-Corindhap 7.2 (44)

By Tim O’Connor

SPRINGBANK had little trouble unlocking Rokewood-Corindhap on Saturday to win by 104 points.

Led in attack by Tom Eltringham’s seven goals, the Tigers barely gave the visitors a sniff in a strong display.

Paul McMahon, who kicked two majors, and Brandon Rix were other standouts for the home side, while Ben Reese was named the Grasshoppers’ best for the second week in succession.

Luke Philp kicked three goals for the vanquished.

Newlyn 20.25 (145) d Carngham Linton 2.6 (18)

By Tim O’Connor

IT HAS been a tough campaign in attack for Newlyn throughout 2016, but ace forward Will Young broke the shackles on Saturday.

Young booted 10 goals in a dominant display for the Cats, which cruised to a 127-point win over Carngham-Linton.

The impressive haul takes Young’s season tally to 55 majors.

While the former Adelaide Crows player was named best on ground, fellow Cats Nathan Skewes and Harry Russell were also impressive for the home side.

Carngham-Linton ended two-straight goalless matches with two majors, which came from Zane Ross and James Nichols.

Josh Benfield was named the best for the beaten brigade.

Saturday’s result leaves Newlyn 13th on the ladder ahead of its final-round clash with Rokewood-Corindhap, while Carngham-Linton is still winless heading into the game against Skipton next weekend.

Waubra 12.12 (84) d Skipton 7.8 (50)

By Tim O’Connor

WAUBRA maintained fourth spot leading into a playoff for that position next weekend by shaking off a determined Skipton on Saturday.

The Roos led by just a goal at half time, before going on to record a 34-point triumph.

Tim Boyle kicked four majors, while onballer Lincoln Barnes again shone along with Tom Nash and Josh King.

Cameron Sudholz was named the standout player for the home side.

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