Cats' 20-game streak ends

PRESSURE ON: LBU coach Adrian Dohnt tackles North Bendigo's Ash Craig. Picture: PETER WEAVING

PRESSURE ON: LBU coach Adrian Dohnt tackles North Bendigo's Ash Craig. Picture: PETER WEAVING

LOCKINGTON-Bamawm United's Heathcote District Football League winning streak has ended at 20 after North Bendigo inflicted the Cats' first defeat for more than a year on Saturday.

The Bulldogs enhanced their status as an elite side this season with their 16-point win, 10.16 (76) to 8.12 (60), at Superior Roofing Oval.

The defeat was LBU's first since it was beaten by Huntly by 11 points in round three last season.

In what's a touch of irony, the Cats' 20-game winning streak began the following week against the team that ultimately ended it - North Bendigo.

"Everything we asked of the boys today, they did for the whole four quarters," North Bendigo co-coach Rob Bennett said.

"It was a full four-quarter team effort and 22 really good contributors.

"We spoke before the game about not dropping off at any time with our pressure because they are a side that will hurt you if you do.

"We let them into the game a little but during the third quarter, but the boys re-focussed and went again."

The Bulldogs led by 31 points at half-time, but the Cats gave themselves a sniff when they cut the deficit to 18 points at the final change.

"They got themselves into a position at three quarter-time where they could have gone on to win the game, but to our guys' credit, each time they were challenged they came up with the answer," Bennett said.

The win improved the Bulldogs' record to 5-1 ahead of another two big games against Leitchville-Gunbower and Mount Pleasant after the inter-league break.

For the second week in a row, midfielder Tyson Findlay (two goals) was the best for the Bulldogs, who were missing one of their star recruits in Darcy Richards (shoulder).

Fellow onballers Brendan Jennings and Daniel Sipthorp also set the tone for the Bulldogs, while Cameron Lomas was superb in his shut-down role on Cats' coach and key playmaker Adrian Dohnt.

The Cats were forced to play catch-up football after kicking a wasteful 1.8 in the first quarter, while at half-time they had just 1.9 on the board.

"North Bendigo was more intense at the ball and simply wanted to win the game more than us," Dohnt said.

"We had our chances in the first quarter when we kicked 1.8, and some of those misses weren't difficult shots, but credit where credit is due, North Bendigo was very good today and deserved to win."

The Cats' best players were Trent Bacon, Chris Hudson, Leigh Deledio and Paul Hudson. Matthew Deledio kicked three goals to be the leading goalkicker on the ground.

As well as ending their 20-game losing streak, the defeat was only the Cats' sixth in their past 60 games dating back to the start of 2011.

• Staring at the prospect of becoming the first team to lose to Elmore this season, Huntly turned a 19-point half-time deficit into a 43-point win over the Bloods at Hy-Line Australia Oval.

An upset loomed when the Bloods led 9.3 to 5.8 at half-time.

However, Elmore couldn't continue its momentum and was outplayed in the second half as the Hawks slammed on 9.12 to 0.4 to win 14.20 (104) to 9.7 (61).

"Offensively, Elmore was really good in that first half and we had to address it at half-time," Huntly coach Stacy Fiske said.

"We were able to shut down their run after half-time and our defensive structures worked really well, which was a positive.

"Hopefully, we'll learn from today and make sure we don't let what happened in the first half happen again."

Captain Braidy Dickens, who kicked four goals, was again Huntly's best player.

Adrian McErvale, the consistent Harry Whittle (two goals) and Fiske were also among the better players for the Hawks, who after starting the season 0-3 have now squared up at 3-3.

For Elmore coach Stephen Arthur, it was an opportunity missed for the Bloods, who have won just one of their past 24 games.

"We played brilliant footy in the first half when our run-and-carry and pressure was really good, but we just stopped in the second half," Arthur said.

"It's very frustrating when you can play the way we did in the first half and then not be competitive in the second."

Arthur conceded fitness was an issue for the Bloods, who have been outscored by an average of 37 points in last quarters this season, with the Hawks kicking 7.5 to 0.2 in Saturday's final term.

Ben Henderson on the wing, back pocket John Pirania and Daniel Valvo led the best players for the Bloods, who had James Harney kick three goals.

• An eight-goal bag from boom recruit Kain Robins helped Mount Pleasant to a 24-point win over Leitchville-Gunbower at Toolleen.

The Blues bounced back from their 63-point loss to LBU the previous week with the 18.12 (120) to 14.12 (96) victory that lifted their record to 5-2.

The game was up for grabs at three quarter-time when the Blues led by a goal, but they kicked away in the final term, adding 7.3 to 4.3.

Robins' eight goals helped cover the void of injured Mount Pleasant full-forward Matt Gretgrix (ankle).

"Kain played really well today, but he should be playing like that being one of the outstanding players of country footy," Mount Pleasant coach Derrick Filo said.

"It was always going to take him four or five games to start to understand the competition and for the boys to work out how he plays."

As well as Robins, the Blues also had young gun Koe Ngawati (two goals), Tim Hill and James Walsh star in what was a win that moved them back into the top three.

Having started the season 4-0, Leitchville-Gunbower has lost its past two games.

Better players for the Bombers - who trailed at every change - were Jye Keath, Jake Williams (two goals) and Brad Perry. Coach Marty Shadbolt kicked three goals.

• White Hills dished out what has been a rarity for the Demons in recent years - a triple-figure belting.

The Demons defeated Heathcote by 106 points, 21.14 (140) to 4.10 (34), at Tint-a-Car Oval in what was only their second win in their past 16 clashes against the Saints. 

White Hills led by 35 points at half-time - 8.10 to 3.5 - before adding 13 goals to one after the break to blow the margin out.

"The response from last week (17-point loss to Colbinabbin) was really good and we put the onus on the players that there was nowhere to hide today," White Hills coach Shaun Makepeace said.

"We kept our tackling pressure up for the whole game, which was very pleasing."

Brad Wright was outstanding for White Hills in defence all day, constantly repelling Heathcote's attacks, while Hayden Wright had an immediate impact in his return from Kyneton.

Hayden Wright was among five players - along with Alex Galea, Gavin Bowles, Charlie Bowyer and Ricky Symes - who kicked three goals for the Demons. 

In what was Heathcote's third loss by more than 100 points, Marc Millard, Darcy McLean and Daniel Russell were the best for the undermanned Saints.

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