Dragons winning streak hits 10

BEST ON GROUND: Sandhurst full-forward Ryan Haythorpe kicked nine goals.
BEST ON GROUND: Sandhurst full-forward Ryan Haythorpe kicked nine goals.

FOR the first time since its last premiership year in 2004, Sandhurst has won 10 games in a row after belting QEO co-tenants South Bendigo by 124 points on Saturday.

In what was a top versus bottom clash, the Dragons cruised to a 23.16 (154) to 4.6 (30) win as their unblemished Bendigo Football League season continued.

The last time Sandhurst beat South Bendigo by more than 100 points is one for the history buffs, with it not having happened previously for at least 20 years.

The Dragons ran riot against the error-riddled Bloods, with the writing on the wall from the outset when inside the opening 12 minutes Sandhurst full-forward Ryan Haythorpe had kicked the first three goals of the game.

Haythorpe dined out on the dominance of the Dragons' midfield to boot the biggest bag of the BFL season so far - nine goals.

As well as his three first-quarter goals, Haythorpe kicked three in the second term, two in the third and one in the last.

Haythorpe unselfishly dished off a handball to Ryan Maldenis during the last quarter instead of having a shot at what could have been his 10th goal.

The game reflected the lop-sided ladder positions of the two sides as the Dragons led by 16 points at quarter-time, 53 at half-time, and 90 at three quarter-time, before the final margin of 124.

The Bloods' backline was under pressure all game as the Dragons constantly swamped them with repeat entries, with Sandhurst finishing with 73 inside-50s to South Bendigo's 35.

Although, the Bloods didn't help themselves with their poor disposal and decision-making out of the back half, with many of their clearing kicks from defensive 50 going straight to a Sandhurst player, who sent the ball back into attack to create another scoring opportunity.

The dominance of Sandhurst was kickstarted in the middle where, on the back of the ruck work of Tim Martin, the Dragons destroyed the Bloods 22-8 in the centre clearances.

As well as Haythorpe's nine goals, Mitch Dole and Maldenis kicked three each for the Dragons.

Two of Dole's goals in the last quarter were both beauties from the South Bendigo social rooms flank.

The Dragons had winners all over the ground, with Joel Wharton, centre half-forward Matt Thornton, Martin, the pacy Harry O’Meara and onballer Brodie Montague joining Haythorpe among the standouts.

Among the most pleasing aspects of the win for Sandhurst coach Brett Fitzpatrick was the Dragons' conversion, which has been the only knock on the ladder-leaders so far.

"We kicked straight for a change, so that was a nice correction on where we've been," Fitzpatrick said.

"It was another good even team performance from the boys today."

The Bloods' score of 4.6 included two goals in the first quarter from Ben Allen and Luke Crawford, one in the third from Michael Tonkin after a strong contested mark and Kieran Strachan kicking one in the final term.

The Bloods named ruckman Allen, Daniel Frew and centre half-forward Ben Jones their three best players in what was the first of their losses this season by more than 100 points.

"Sandhurst is a very good side and we were just outgunned today," Bloods co-coach Peter Tyack said.

"We had stages where we had a lot of the footy, but our disposal let us down at times.

"But take nothing away from Sandhurst... they are a very good outfit."

• Match statistics:

Centre clearances: Sandhurst 22; South Bendigo 8.

Inside 50s: Sandhurst 73; South Bendigo 35.

Stoppages: Sandhurst 18; South Bendigo 23.


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