INGLEWOOD’S second half of the season has started on a positive note as the Blues won their first Loddon Valley game of 2017 on Saturday.
The Blues proved too strong for Maiden Gully YCW Eagles, winning by 18 points – 10.17 (77) to 9.5 (59) – at Marist College and moving off the bottom of the ladder.
“It has been a long time coming… obviously the first half of the season didn’t pan out the way any of us would have liked,” Blues co-coach Ryan McNish said.
“But we’ve emphasised the way we want to play and the boys played some solid footy today.”
Having trailed at quarter-time in their first eight games, the Blues were finally able to jump out of the blocks well, leading by 16 points at the first change and extending their advantage to 28 at half-time.
“We had the belief there today that we could win and that was really important,” McNish said.
“We really wanted it today and at the end of the day, we wanted it more than YCW.
“We started really well in the first quarter, which we’ve been lacking in the past, but that’s what set us up today.”
While the Blues were more than happy to finish with an 18-point win, they squandered the opportunity for a much bigger margin with their inaccurate 10.17.
“We missed some really gettable shots, but that’s something we can work on,” McNish said.
“There were a lot of positives out of the game and it’s great to get the monkey off the back and for the boys to see what the result can be when we play the way we’ve been trying to.”
Ruckman Cody West starred for the Blues to be their best player.
“Cody would have had 80 or 90 hit-outs today. He put it on a platter for our midfielders and was also really good around the ground with his marks,” said McNish, who kicked two goals.
David Rose off half-back and Ben Conley through the midfield were other top performers for the Blues.
The loss was the Eagles’ fourth in a row. Luke Gray (four) and Tori Ferguson (three) combined to kick seven of their nine goals, while Jordan Crisp was named best.
• Calivil United enhanced its reputation as the competition’s standout team, thumping a lethargic Mitiamo by 52 points.
The top-of-the-ladder Demons improved to 9-0 with their 15.20 (110) to 8.10 (58) victory at Mitiamo, which cost the Superoos their position in the top three.
It shaped in the build-up as a contest that promised plenty between first and third, but the Superoos didn’t fire a shot.
The game was already as good as done and dusted at half-time as the Demons raced to a 42-point advantage, 8.12 to 2.6.
“Playing at Mitiamo is always a tough challenge, but we did a lot of homework during the week and were confident if we executed our game plan we could get over the line and we were able to do so,” Demons coach Anthony Dennis said.
“Unfortunately, we missed a lot of easy shots at goal, so there will be a bit of goalkicking practice going on this week.”
The Demons’ inaccurate 15.20 included 7.13 in the second and third quarters.
Ruckman Chris Down continued his impressive form to be named best for the Demons.
“He was super today winning most of the tap outs and laying a lot of tackles… he was just like a fourth midfielder,” Dennis said.
Captain Ben Knight and Luke Marchesi, who hurt his knee, also led the way for the Demons, while Bryce Curnow kicked four goals and Dennis chipped in with three.
Mitiamo coach Justin Maddern was bitterly disappointed in the performance of the Superoos.
“I went into today confident in where we were at as a side, but we just didn’t show up and to Calivil’s credit they played a really good game,” said Maddern, who kicked two goals.
“We just didn’t do the little things right today… we had a good build-up on the track, but something went wrong today that I can’t put my finger on yet.
“We were missing a couple of key players and what today probably shows is we’re relying on those guys more than I thought we were.
“I still think we’ve got the side to go deep into September, but we’ve got a few things that need to be worked on.”
Among the outs for the Superoos were their best player this season in on-ball recruit Luke Scott (ill), ruckman Mitch Sidebottom (overseas) and veteran Aaron McKean.
On-baller Terry Reerves and Ash Benbow were best for the Superoos, who have a challening fortnight ahead with games against Newbridge and Bridgewater.
• Bridgewater moved into the top three off the back of a 54-point win over Bears Lagoon-Serpentine.
The Mean Machine conceded just one goal after quarter-time in their 13.10 (88) to 4.10 (34) victory at Serpentine.
“We had another even contribution across the board again and feel that we’re improving each week,” Bridgewater coach Marc Lindsay said.
“Having some personnel back to stabilise our backline, and getting the team gelling together with a lot of new faces has taken a bit of time, but we’re starting to find our feet.”
Brothers Tom and Zeb Broadbent played well through the midfield to be the best for the Mean Machine in what was a 75-point turnaround from round one when the Bears won by 21.
Mean Machine full-forward Alex Collins moved to outright top on the league goalkicking with 39 after kicking four.
Having been 5-1 after six games, the Bears have now lost three in a row.
Jasper Walker-Corbert and Andrew Gladman headed the best players for the Bears, who kicked 1.9 after quarter-time.
• Newbridge now has a two-game buffer inside the top three after winning its fourth game in a row and improving to 7-2.
The Maroons spoiled the 300th game of Pyramid Hill co-coach Brad Fawcett by beating the Bulldogs by 11 points, 12.11 (83) to 10.12 (72), at Mitchell Park.
“We’re rapt with the result; Pyramid Hill is one of the toughest grounds to play at, but the boys really dug in,” Newbridge coach Matt Dillon said.
“It was a high-pressure game, but we held up well.”
Ruckman Tyler Romeril continues to star for the Maroons and for the fourth game in a row was their best player, with Brad Comer and Alex Farrow other major contributors. Sam Kennedy kicked three goals.
Just like last week against Calivil United, the Bulldogs were let down with an ordinary first half in which they trailed by 27 points at the main break.
Michael Dundon and the pacy Matt Klein-Breteler were the best of the Bulldogs, who had forward Joe McGrath kick four goals.
The loss leaves the Bulldogs – who have played finals every season since 2004 – a game outside the top five with a 4-5 record.