Dragons complete Bulldogs' sweep

CONSISTENT DRAGON: Midfielder Brodie Montague played another solid game for Sandhurst against Golden Square on Saturday.
CONSISTENT DRAGON: Midfielder Brodie Montague played another solid game for Sandhurst against Golden Square on Saturday.

FOR the first time in 14 years, Sandhurst has completed a Bendigo Football League home and away sweep against Golden Square after defeating the Bulldogs by 56 points on Saturday.

Saturday's 18.20 (128) to 11.6 (72) victory followed Sandhurst's nine-point win over Golden Square at the QEO in round eight in what was the first time since 2000 the Dragons have won both home and away contests with their arch-rivals.

Sandhurst's win followed a similar pattern to its victory over Castlemaine two weeks earlier, with the Bulldogs still within striking distance halfway through the third quarter, before the Dragons put the foot down to blow the game open.

After the Dragons had led by 25 points during the third term, back-to-back goals to Golden Square's Blayne Ryan-Storey and Corey Jones brought the Bulldogs within 13 points at the 15-minute mark.

However, that was the end of the threat from Golden Square as the Dragons kicked the last two goals of the third term, and then the first four of the last quarter inside the opening six minutes to kick away to their 16th win of the season.

Earlier, there were warning bells for the Bulldogs when the Dragons kicked the first three goals of the match in the opening seven minutes through captain Blair Holmes, Ben Anderson and Joel Wharton.

But the Bulldogs - missing late withdrawal Jack Geary (ill) - recovered after the sluggish start to take an unlikely lead into quarter-time, 5.1 to 4.3, before the Dragons were quick to regain the ascendancy in the second term.

With Sandhurst's Tim Martin dominant in the ruck and feeding the likes of Ryan Maldenis, Brodie Montague and Lee Coghlan, the Dragons belted the Bulldogs 13-6 at the stoppages for the quarter and had 19 inside-50s to five for a return of 5.6 to 2.1 to lead by 19 points at half-time, before finishing with nine goals to four after the break.

The Dragons' second half included their game-breaking run of kicking an unanswered 6.4 late in the third term and early in the last, while they also squandered the opportunity to extend their winning margin further, kicking six behinds between their 16th and 17th goals.

The best for the Dragons were led by strong-marking centre half-forward Matt Thornton, who spent the first quarter in defence, Lachlan Ross (five goals), Martin, Maldenis, Montague (two goals), running defender Harry O'Meara and Coghlan.

"It was another good performance by the boys today. The effort was good and in the back end of the game it was able to open up for us," Dragons coach Brett Fitzpatrick said.

"It probably wasn't as accomplished as last week (against Gisborne), but the boys didn't let-up all game."

The Dragons kept the heat on the Bulldogs all game as Golden Square constantly butchered the ball, with its ordinary skills typified in a two-minute patch in the third quarter when three times on the clubrooms wing the Bulldogs kicked the ball directly to an unmanned Sandhurst defender.

"I was happy with the first quarter given they kicked the first three goals of the game, but we weren't able to maintain focus due to the pressure they put us under and therefore we turned the ball over and weren't able to get back into a gear that would give us a chance," Golden Square coach Nick Carter.

"Sandhurst upped the ante when we challenged them, but we didn't help ourselves with our sloppy disposal and couldn't get enough players to the level required."

The bullocking Che Walls (two goals) through the midfield was the best for the Bulldogs, along with Jack Daley (three goals), who ended the game on the bench with a sore groin, full-back Matt Tyrrell and skipper Simon Rosa.

Luck wasn't on Golden Square's side late in the second quarter when Walls was charging into goal 30m out, but the half-time siren sounded before he took his kick, while the Bulldogs' first two scoring shots of the third term were posters to Josh Filo and Walls.

• Match statistics:

Centre clearances: Sandhurst 17; Golden Square 15.

Inside 50s: Sandhurst 57; Golden Square 39.

Stoppages: Sandhurst 29; Golden Square 19.


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