South's accuracy reigns supreme against Kangas

South Bendigo’s Jackson Ireland has possession against the Roos in the middle of the QEO.      Picture: JULIE HOUGH
South Bendigo’s Jackson Ireland has possession against the Roos in the middle of the QEO. Picture: JULIE HOUGH

SOUTH Bendigo just held out a fast-finishing Kangaroo Flat to win Saturday’s closest match of the BFL’s 13th round by nine points.On a rain-soaked and muddy QEO, swept by freezing gusts of wind, the super accurate Bloods kicked 10 goals straight in this contest.The Roos outscored South 4.4 to two goals after half-time, but couldn’t quite make up the 25-point half-time deficit.South’s defence, led by Leigh Rees, Brad Wright and Phil Carroll, held the side together as the Bloods fought on to win, 10.0 (60) to 7.9 (51).Bloods’ coach Rick Coburn said his side’s first half had been good, but he praised the Flat’s second-half attack on the ball.“Apart from Dayne Frew’s long goal which was pretty tricky, I suppose our other shots were from fairly close in,’’ Coburn said.“Still, 10 straight goals is really amazing,” he said.South Bendigo set up its eventual victory with a six-goal first quarter. Using the dry ball to best advantage, Jackson Ireland, skipper John Hardinge and Dayne Frew all goaled at the city end as the rain pelted down.Kangaroo Flat replied with majors to Ryan McNish and Tim Brooks and when hard-working midfielder Cameron Carter soccered through a goal at the Barnard Street end the Roos were right in the contest.Rees and Flat spearhead Justin Maddern were locked in a test of strength as Carter swooped on the loose ball when it carried the marking contest.But the Bloods weren’t finished. Steven Stroobants took full toll of an ‘‘advantage’’ call by the Wimmera District central umpire to kick truly.Hardinge marked an up-and-under hospital ball to get his second. And after the quarter-time siren, midfielder Daniel Anderson steered through South’s six goal as the home side held a handy 17-point break.The Roos didn’t use the city end as well as they should have in the second term. A return of four behinds was to cost them the four, premiership points while South added two goals at the other end.While Rees and Carroll were busy in their defensive area, the Flat’s Tyson Mihocek and Dylan Clohesy toiled hard in their back half.Dayne Frew took a turn on the ball for South, yet it was his teammate Leigh Davies who snared the goal-of-the-day. Corralled by Roo defenders in the goalsquare, somehow Davies managed to screw the ball over his head to score a valuable major.When Rory Alexander found Stroobants in space, the Bloods’ pacy half-forward calmly steered through his side’s eighth, straight goal after the half-time siren: the second time in two quarters the Bloods had managed the feat.Danny O’Bree had been well held by Flat’s Ben Smith, so South relied on big efforts in the front half from ground level players Alex Galea and Stroobants.With the lights on, the Roos bounded into action in the third term. After the Bloods’ Ireland had toe-poked through his second goal at the city end McNish, Carter, Mihocek and Tyrone Downie sparked the Kangaroo Flat revival.Scooping up the ball as if on a dry day, McNish boomeranged through Flat’s fourth goal. A minute later, Mihockek found Maddern on the 50m arc with a long kick.On one of the few occasions he was able to break clear of Rees, Maddern marked and nailed a long shot.Had Downie been able to convert from his set shot soon afterwards the Roos would have been closer than the eventual 17-point gap at three-quarter-time.The last term was a typical wet day slog.The Roos’ Sam Ryan centred the ball from the rotunda flank and found Brenton McKenry in space at centre half-forward.The young wingman popped through Kangaroo Flat’s sixth goal as the visitors mounted a last, desperate surge. The margin was just 10 points: 54-44.Alexander gave the Bloods some vital breathing space when he marked a kick upfield from Aaron Connaughton and booted South’s 10th goal.Carter nailed the Flat’s seventh goal from a 50m penalty and with seven minutes to go, the gap was again down to 10 points.But Rees, Wright and Carroll hadn’t worked hard all day in defence to let the game slip. Time and again the Bloods’ defenders pushed the ball wide to the outer wing as they stifled the Flat’s attacking moves.Jarryd Wiegard had a last chance to draw the Roos closer, but his shot was off target and South fell over the line nine points up.Flat assistant coach Mick Harrington said his players’ four-quarter effort couldn’t be faulted.“We turned in a good account of ourselves. I suppose in the finish it was a bit disappointing they kicked so straight, but we fought it right out,” he said.Neither set of coaches commented on the free kick count, but the Roos finished well in front: 51 frees to South’s 30.