North Bendigo 27.25 (187) defeated Huntly 4.14 (38).
No, that scoreline is not a misprint or a flashback to Huntly’s dark days of 2007-08.
It’s the stunning result from Saturday’s round two clash between the reigning premier Bulldogs and a Huntly team which many people, including many of the Hawks’ hierarchy, expected to be North Bendigo’s closest rival in 2017.
The Hawks were without key midfielders Harry Whittle and Jack Daley and lost full-back Tim Davison, centre half-back Chris Gleeson and midfielder Luke Semmel to injuries in the first half as they suffered a humiliating by the Bulldogs at HIBO Hotel Oval.
“Missing those players doesn’t help, but North Bendigo is a fantastic unit,’’ Huntly co-coach Ryan Semmel said.
“They work hard for each other and they played some great footy today. We were lazy, we didn’t man up and they made us pay.
“Hopefully, this is the kick up the backside we need for the rest of the year.”
North Bendigo kicked a staggering 16.18 (114) to Huntly’s 0.8 (8) after half-time.
“Our guys really looked forward to this challenge because of what Huntly had said in the season preview about anything but a grand final being a failure for them,’’ North Bendigo coach Rob Bennett said.
“We set ourselves for a really good battle and the boys were keen to play well – and they did.
“We stressed at half-time that we were in a good position, but we didn’t want to have a lapse in concentration and let them back in.
“The playing group drive themselves and they took it upon themselves to make sure we finished the game off strongly.”
Full forward Sam Barnes bagged eight goals and midfielder Tyson Findlay kicked seven goals, while centre half-forward Brady Herdman kicked two goals and a handful of behinds.
Alex Shipard was named the Bulldogs’ best player for his run-with role on Ryan Semmel.
If the scoreline wasn’t scary enough, North Bendigo will regain Darcy Richards after next week’s bye and forward Rhys Ford, who kicked 49 goals in a mediocre Castlemaine team in the BFNL last season, will play his first senior game for the Dogs.
Premiership players Daniel Morris, Ryan Gow, Tom Metherell and Storm Giri are also waiting in the wings.
In other HDFNL games on Saturday, White Hills made it two wins from as many games when it defeated Heathcote 16.18 (114) to 10.4 (64), while Elmore won its first game of the year when it defeated LBU 21.8 (134) to 16.14 (110).
Full HDFNL review to come tomorrow.