HISTORY was repeated at Lockington on Saturday in another thriller between the Cats and White Hills in the Heathcote District league.
Remarkably, for the third year in a row White Hills escaped with a two-point win against the Cats on their home ground.
Having beaten the Cats with scores of 95-93 and 74-72 at Lockington in 2016 and 2015, this time the Demons got over the line 9.11 (65) to 9.9 (63) in what was a win coach Brent Millar said was daylight robbery.
“We robbed Lockington today… we didn’t deserve to win at all,” Millar said.
“They dominated us in the first half in every aspect of contested ball, clearances, tackle count, pressure acts and inside 50s.
“We spoke about where we were going wrong at half-time and were able to get ourselves back in the game in the third quarter.
“They led for most of the day, but fortunately, we edged in front late and were able to control the footy for the last five minutes.”
The Cats led by 19 points at half-time, 5.6 to 2.5, before the Demons whittled the deficit back to two points at the final change.
In what was a thrilling final term, the Demons’ last quarter 2.4 to the Cats’ 2.0 was enough to scrape home and improve to 4-1.
While the Demons – coming off a 21-day break – got the four points, Millar said it was a lesson to his players in the perils of not respecting the opposition.
“We spoke at the start of the game that Locky are going to take some scalps this year and we didn’t want it to be us today,” Millar said.
“Our midfield today was smashed. We were unaccountable and disrespectful to them and we almost paid a heavy price for it.”
Rhys Irwin in defence, Jake Dickens (two goals), who started in the backline before playing forward, Ryley Dickens and ruckman Lachlan Sidebottom were White Hills’ best players.
Lockington-Bamawm United is now 0-6, despite either having been in front or within a kick at three quarter-time in four games.
“It’s a tough result in some respects, but it was also a pleasing performance in others,” Cats coach Peter Gibbs said.
“We played good footy for most of the day and if we can continue to play like that, we’ll win more games than we’ll lose.”
Usual forward Nathan Dyson revelled in his role in defence, keeping White Hills’ spearhead Sean Christopher goalless.
Jarrod Monaghan and Darcy McCallum were other key performers for the Cats.
• Heathcote won its second game of the season, proving too strong for rivals Mount Pleasant.
On what was a major reunion day for Mount Pleasant at Toolleen, the Blues were upstaged 15.9 (99) to 11.7 (73) by the Saints, who are proving anything but the easybeats they had been touted pre-season.
With the 26-point win, the Saints for the first time since 2013 got their hands back on the Cliff and Peter White Shield, which has been played for in the first game of each season between the clubs since 1997.
“We spoke before the game about the standing of Cliff and Peter White within the league and at Mount Pleasant,” first-year Heathcote coach Luke Bell said.
“To win the shield is a great result for the club. It means a lot to both clubs and it’s something we strive hard to get our hands on every year.”
With their second win, the Saints have surpassed last year’s tally of one victory, meaning whatever happens from here, 2017 will be an improvement on 2016.
“The guys have brought a great level of intensity to the contest all year and everyone’s work-rate has really picked up,” Bell said.
“We’re getting really good numbers at training and everyone is really buying into trying to turn the club around.”
Veteran Daniel Carroll, Kyle Seidel and Jack Paisley headed the better players for the Saints, who led at every change. The win was only the sixth in the Saints’ past 54 matches.
Adam Richardson, Jeremy Hancock and Alex Hand were the best for the Blues, who had key forward Ryan Herring kick four goals.
Despite the loss, Mount Pleasant moved one spot up the ladder from sixth to fifth.
• Ladder-leader North Bendigo remained unbeaten, while handing Colbinabbin a second loss in a row.
Having been beaten by Colbinabbin the previous two years at M.J. Morgan Oval, this time the Bulldogs proved far too strong in winning by 69 points, 18.16 (124) to 7.13 (55).
Star forward trio Brady Herdman (four), Rhys Ford (three) and Sam Barnes (three) combined for 10 goals for the Bulldogs, who were at their most lethal during the second quarter when they piled on 8.5 to 1.1 to build a 47-point advantage at half-time.
Ford had enough opportunities to boot double figures, but was off target and had to settle for three.
“We spoke pre-game that we haven’t had the best record at Colbinabbin over the past couple of years. The ground is in senational nick and the sort of surface finals are played on, so we really wanted to play well on it today,” Bulldogs coach Rob Bennett said.
“I thought our three big tall forwards in Brady, Barnesy and Rhys worked really well together. They are all smart footballers and sacrifice their own game at times to give someone else an opportunity to hit the scoreboard.”
The smooth-moving Jarrod Findlay (two goals) was named best for the Bulldogs.
“His early-season form has been fantastic. He had a tag today and for him to win as much of the footy as he did showed just what a classy footballer he is,” Bennett said.
Ash Craig, who had a run-with role on Colbinabbin coach Nick Knight, and ruckman Brett Strange were other standout players for the Bulldogs.
The 69-point margin – which followed a six-point loss to Huntly the previous round – was only the second time since 2012 that the Grasshoppers have been on the end of a hiding by more than 10 goals.
Lucas Hill, Will Morrow and Pat O’Brien were the best for the Grasshoppers.
• Huntly proved no match for Leitchville-Gunbower, copping a 93-point belting.
The Bombers slammed on 15 goals to four after half-time to win 22.16 (148) to 8.7 (55) at Leitchville.
Jackson McEwen’s impressive season continued for the Bombers to be their best player, along with Joel Donehue, Matt Pollock (three goals) and ruckman Michael Pilcher, who returned from his knee scare.
Matt Perri took his season tally to a competition-best 32 with a haul of six goals, with the Bombers now turning their attention to the most-anticipated game of the season so far next Saturday against fellow unbeaten side North Bendigo.
For the Hawks, who started well to lead by 10 points at quarter-time, Jaydon Cowling, Josh Harris and Steve Kairn were named their three best players.