Strathfieldsaye Storm rides out Gisborne's spirited challenge

GREAT RETURN: Strathfieldsaye Storm Sam Mildren marked his first senior match of the season by kicking five goals in the win at Gisborne.

GREAT RETURN: Strathfieldsaye Storm Sam Mildren marked his first senior match of the season by kicking five goals in the win at Gisborne.

STRATHFIELDSAYE Storm answered a spirited second-half fightback by Gisborne to win Saturday's Bendigo Football League clash at Gardiner Reserve by 33 points.

The Storm's remarkable accuracy and dominant midfield played a big part in building a 39-point lead by half-time on the Bulldogs turf.

In a match marked by some amazing momentum swings, Gisborne stormed back in the contest in the third term.

Faced with a 45-point deficit early in the second half, Gisborne scored five unanswered goals through Shannon Greetham, three; Tom May and Shaun Comerford.

By three quarter-time Strathfieldsaye's lead had been whittled to 20 points.

The Dogs momentum kept rolling as a snapshot by Jarrad Lynch and a long-range kick by Michael Thornton went through.

Gisborne cut the margin to just seven points before Storm's Lachlan Sharp was on the end of a handpass and snapped truly.

It was goal-for-goal as captain Ben Sonogan (2) and  Ben Talbot were on target for Gisborne.

Storm replied through Sam Mildren and Tom Dowd to hold a 15-point lead.

It was Strathfieldsaye which finished the stronger and was rewarded with goals by Mildren, Jake Best and Stephen Milne.

Storm won 21.10 (136) to 16.7 (103).

The aptly-named Best was just that as a team-high six goals included back-to-back attempts from on the run in the pocket at the tree-lined end of the ground in the opening term.

A Casey Scorpions-listed player, Best was in Storm colours for the first time.

Danny Jones also played his first senior game for Storm.

Mildren marked his first match of the season by finishing with five goals.

Team-mates for the BFL last Saturday, Milne and Tim Walsh had a great duel. Storm's star recruit finished with three goals.

Storm's best players included Matt Johnston, Mildren, Ben Lester, Vinnie Flood and Lachlan Bonney.

The Gisborne attack was led by Greetham, four, and Sonogan, three.

Michelsen medallist Scott Walsh was Gisborne's best along with Greetham, Tim Walsh and May.

Strathfieldsaye coach Darryl Wilson said any match at Gisborne was always a tough test.

"It's a much smaller ground than Tannery Lane and the history can be a bit daunting," Wilson said.

"We knew Gisborne would have a red-hot go from the start and worked really hard to take control."

Wilson said Storm's third-quarter showed there was still a lot to work on.

"Gisborne started to win a lot more contests, especially in the centre, and we were under pressure."

Strathfieldsaye also rued some wayward shots at goal.

"The great thing is we responded to the challenge," Wilson said.  

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