Cats purr in first win of Heathcote District league season against Blues

LOCKINGTON-Bamawm United broke through for its first win of the Heathcote District league season on Saturday and in doing so, continued Mount Pleasant’s month of misery.

UP AND ABOUT: Elmore coach Danny Brewster celebrates one of his four goals against White Hills in Saturday's victory. Picture: DARREN HOWE

UP AND ABOUT: Elmore coach Danny Brewster celebrates one of his four goals against White Hills in Saturday's victory. Picture: DARREN HOWE

The Cats, who hadn’t won since round 13 last year, dominated the Blues from the outset to cruise to a commanding 74-point win, 15.12 (102) to 4.4 (28).

The result was a 116-point swing on their round one encounter earlier this season, which the Blues won by 42 points.

“The boys played really well today… they ran hard and applied good pressure throughout the game,” Cats coach Peter Gibbs said.

“It was our willingness to run, whether it was to support or get a handball receive and create some overlap that was the biggest positive for us.

“It’s fantastic that the boys were able to get some reward, and great to see a couple of young kids in Mitch Candy and Jeremy Felmingham, who haven’t played a lot of senior footy, step up and play really good games.”

As well as being the Cats’ first win since round 13 last year, it was only their fourth in their 41 games since they beat North Bendigo in the 2014 grand final.

Class midfielders Meyrick Buchanan and Callum Buchanan again set the tone for the Cats to be their best, while the goalkickers included three each to Hayden Mitchell, Zeik Johnston and Daniel Zegelin.

The Blues kicked one goal in each term in what was their fifth loss in a row that leaves them just one game clear of the last-placed Cats, but with a much worse percentage that now has the league’s most successful club with a fight on its hands to avoid the wooden spoon.

Jordan Allen kicked two of the four goals for the Blues, who named Adam Richardson their best player.

• In what was another major turnaround from round one, Elmore won its second game of the season at the expense of White Hills.

When they met in round one the Demons thumped the Bloods by 98 points.

But Saturday’s return bout was a far different story as the Bloods emerged with a seven-point victory, 15.12 (102) to 13.17 (95), at White Hills.

The Bloods hit the field with plenty of inspiration after coach Danny Brewster played a video of Neale Daniher recently addressing Melbourne players where his message focused on selfish v selflessness.

“The boys took a lot out of the video and that was evident in the way we played today,” Brewster said.

“Our tackling pressure was where it needed to be and we were consistent over the four quarters.

“We had to tough it out at the end being a couple of players down (Mac Whittle and Travis Mills), but the boys worked for each other and we got the result.”

Key forward James Harney bagged six goals to be the best for the Bloods. His goals included the sealer after the Demons – who trailed by 27 points at half-time – had twice drawn level during the final term.

Dale Williamson and Brewster kicked four goals each for Elmore, while Nathan Brewster led a backline brigade that drew plenty of praise from the coach and Dylan Gordon was a class act.

The Demons’ loss, which continues a flat month of footy, was compounded by a season-ending shoulder injury to Jake Ward.

WRAPPED UP: White Hills' David Wright is going nowhere in this tackle against Elmore. The Bloods beat the Demons by seven points. Picture: DARREN HOWE

WRAPPED UP: White Hills' David Wright is going nowhere in this tackle against Elmore. The Bloods beat the Demons by seven points. Picture: DARREN HOWE

“It was bitterly disappointing today… we played patches of good footy, but Elmore was first to the footy and really good with their contested ball,” Demons coach Brent Millar said.

“We laid 92 tackles against a team that had won one game for the year, which shows we were second to the ball all day. We probably should have had 125 tackles, but we missed another 30.”

Levi Middleton (three goals) was named best for the Demons, while the reliable Rhys Irwin continued his good patch of form.

Sean Christopher, who kicked 11 goals against the Bloods in round one, slotted four.

• Heathcote copped the full brunt of North Bendigo as the Bulldogs recorded their biggest win since they joined the league in 1996.

With Rhys Ford (nine), Sam Barnes (eight) and Brady Herdman (eight) combining for 25 goals, the Bulldogs crushed the Saints by 225 points, 37.31 (253) to 4.4 (28), at North Bendigo.

“It wasn’t pretty today… North showed us up in every aspect,” Heathcote coach Luke Bell said.

“We went in with a plan to make it hard for them to score and to have a really strong defensive mindset, but unfortunately, we got smashed around the footy and were outclassed and outworked.

“North is a phenomenal side and they didn’t let-up at all over the four quarters.

“We have a young group and there’s probably going to be a down week here or there, but we just didn’t come to play today.”

With Ford, Barnes and Herdman kicking 25 goals between them, the trio now have a total of 112 from a combined 24 games for the season – Herdman (47), Ford (33) and Barnes (32).

They were all in the Bulldogs’ best players, along with ruckman Brett Strange, who produced another dominant display, Jaran McKay and Lachlan Ford.

Jordan Cavallaro kicked three of Heathcote’s four goals and was named best for the Saints, who trailed by 58 points at quarter-time, 112 at half-time and 177 at three quarter-time, before the final margin of 225.

The Saints have now lost their past three games against the Bulldogs by a combined 569 points.

• Despite a rare off day in front of goal, Leitchville-Gunbower accounted for Colbinabbin by 30 points.

For the first time in their past 16 games dating back to round 13 last season, the Bombers kicked more behinds than goals in their winning score of 11.18 (84) to 7.12 (54) at Colbinabbin.

The Bombers’ inaccuracy included 3.8 in the last quarter.

“We were able to gain control in the last quarter, but it wasn’t until probably midway through the third that we were able to start to swing the game our way,” Bombers coach Matt Hawken said.

Youngster Logan Prout, who kept Colbinabbin forward Ryan Hon goalless, was best for the Bombers, who also had ruckman Lee Pollock do a power of work to be influential.

The Grasshoppers had good players in Will Morrow on a wing and skipper Pat O’Brien, while their score of 7.12 included an off-target 1.6 from coach Nick Knight.

“We were really good for three quarters today, but full credit to Leitchville, they flexed their muscle in the last quarter,” Knight said.

“We struggled to get the ball out of our back half in the last quarter. Probably the most disappointing part of the game was we weren’t able to sustain what we had done really well for three quarters in the last.”

The Grasshoppers lost backman Daniel Hill to a hamstring injury. Hill had been playing on Bombers’ gun forward Matt Perri (three goals).