NORTH Bendigo has reached the halfway mark of the Heathcote District league season undefeated after recording another big win on Saturday.
The Bulldogs trounced Elmore by 137 points, 25.27 (177) to 5.10 (40), at North Bendigo as their season of dominance continued.
The two-time defending premiers reach the halfway point of the season with an 8-0 record, average winning margin of 119 points and putting together one of – if not the – most ruthless seasons in league history.
“I said to the boys after the game that be pleased we haven’t lost a game at the halfway mark, but there’s still areas we can improve in, which we will continue to work on,” Bulldogs coach Rob Bennett said.
“We’re obviously happy with how we’re going, but it doesn’t count for much at this time of the year.”
The Bulldogs, who were without star forward Sam Barnes (hamstring), did the bulk of their damage on Saturday in the third quarter.
Having led by 56 points at half-time, the Bulldogs piled on 10.10 to 0.0 in the third term to extend their advantage to 126 points at the final change.
The Bulldogs’ final tally of 25.27 was the fourth time they’ve had at least 50 scoring shots in a game.
Gun forward Brady Herdman was again the standout player for the Bulldogs with a bag of seven goals, accompanied by plenty of marks.
“Brady was restricted a lot last year with osteitis pubis, but full credit to the work he put in during the pre-season and his body is feeling really good at the moment,” Bennett said.
Utility Joel Helman (two goals), Ash Craig and Nick Waterson were also prominent for the Bulldogs, who for the third game in a row had a double-figure spread of goalkickers with 10.
Playing the benchmark side, the Bloods needed to make the most of all their opportunities going forward, but were unable to do so in the first half when they kicked an off-target 2.9.
“We kicked 1.6 in the first quarter and missed some easy shots, but we just had too many lapses throughout the game and when North get running they are very hard to stop,” Elmore coach Danny Brewster said.
“The third quarter was our biggest downfall, but I thought we fought the game out really well and we’ll take some positives out of it.”
Harley Hayes in his first game back from injury provided some pace for the Bloods and was their best player.
• Huntly won its third game in a row, defeating Heathcote by 54 points.
A strong second quarter was the catalyst for the Hawks’ 18.22 (130) to 11.10 (76) victory at home.
The Hawks kicked 6.6 to 0.2 in the second term to set up a 48-point advantage at half-time against an improved Saints side coming off two wins in a row.
“Heathcote took it right up to us today, but the second quarter was probably the best we’ve played as a group for the year,” Huntly co-coach Jamie Hogan said.
“Heathcote is playing a good brand of footy, so we were really pleased to get away with a win today.”
The star duo of Harry Whittle (five) and co-coach Ryan Semmel (four) kicked nine goals between them for the Hawks.
Semmel, Phil Ryan and Ross Culvenor were the best of the Hawks’ players.
Among the best for the Saints were two Northern Territory Thunder-listed players – Josh Cheek and ruckman Daniel Russell – who made the trip south to play for the day with Heathcote.
“We were disappointed with our second quarter; if you take that out it was fairly even for the rest of the game,” Saints coach Luke Bell said.
• Having lost its previous two games, White Hills returned to the winner’s list against Mount Pleasant at home.
However, it was a much more competitive effort from the Blues, who after scoring just one goal in their previous two games kicked 10 in what was a 12.13 (85) to 10.4 (64) loss.
“Credit to Mounts today… they were fierce at the footy, contested really well and set up well,” Demons coach Brent Millar said.
“They gave themselves every chance to win the game, but we were able to do enough to get over the line.
“We know, though, that we’ve got to get a lot better in the second half of the year and get back to playing good team footy.”
The Demons made what proved the match-winning move during the second quarter when they outscored the Blues 5.1 to 1.1.
While Hills key target Sean Christopher was the leading forward on the ground kicking four goals in what was his best return since round three.
The versatile Jake Dickens continues to impress as he was named the Demons’ best player for the third game in a row.
The consistent David Wright and Jake Ward were also good for the Demons, who along with Colbinabbin and Huntly are among a batch of three teams with 5-3 records at the halfway mark.
James Walsh was a welcome addition into the Blues side for his fourth game of the season to be their best, while Fraser Cole and Ryan Herring (two goals) were also among the better players and Daniel Kerr kicked three goals.
• On Sunday, Leitchville-Gunbower defeated Lockington-Bamawm United for the fourth time in a row by more than 100 points.
This time the margin was 129 points as the Bombers won 25.19 (169) to 6.4 (40) on what was a day in which the Cats celebrated 100 years of football at Lockington.
Matt Perri booted seven goals for the Bombers, whose best were Lee Pollock and Matthew Pollock.
Meyrick Buchanan (three goals) and Liam Main battled hard for the Cats, who kicked three of their six goals in the final term.