BFNL – Strachan sinks Magpies with bag of 10 for Dragons

BEST ON GROUND: Sandhurst's Taylor Strachan was unstoppable inside 50 against Maryborough on Saturday, kicking 10 goals in the Dragons' 107-point win.
BEST ON GROUND: Sandhurst's Taylor Strachan was unstoppable inside 50 against Maryborough on Saturday, kicking 10 goals in the Dragons' 107-point win.

TAYLOR Strachan became the first Sandhurst player in five years – and only the third in the 2000s – to kick a double -figure bag of goals in Saturday’s 107-point romp over Maryborough at the QEO.

Having had the yips in front of goal the previous week, there were no such concerns for Strachan, who was the most dominant player on the ground as the Dragons returned to the BFNL top five with their 24.16 (160) to 7.11 (53) victory.

Spending most of the day at full-forward with brief stints in the ruck to relieve Tim Martin, the Magpies’ defence was unable to contain the athletic Strachan, who kicked three goals in each of the second and third quarters and four in the last, with the bulk coming from marks.

Strachan’s 10th was the final goal of the match after he converted a 35m set-shot to become the first Dragon since Ricky Symes in 2013 to bag double figures.

EVASIVE: Maryborough teenager Connor O'Shea eludes Sandhurst's Lee Coghlan at the QEO on Saturday. Pictures: DARREN HOWE

EVASIVE: Maryborough teenager Connor O'Shea eludes Sandhurst's Lee Coghlan at the QEO on Saturday. Pictures: DARREN HOWE

“Taylor was very good today… he marked the ball well, we got it into him often and he finished his work off,” Sandhurst coach Andrew Collins said.

“He showed today that he can be a real handful up forward.”

While the final score showed a 107-point blowout, it doesn’t do justice to the endeavor of the young Magpies, who cracked in, but too often were let down by turnovers, didn’t help their cause by missing a number of gettable opportunities inside 50 and were unable to halt the influence of not only Strachan, but fellow big man Martin, who was unopposed in the centre square ruck duels for much of the second half.

The signs were ominous for the Magpies early when the Dragons had three quick goals on the board with Maryborough barely touching the ball, while by the 11-minute mark it was a 4.2 to 0.1 lead for the home side.

The Magpies didn’t kick their first goal until the 10 minute mark of the second quarter through Brady Neill from a free kick, by which stage the Dragons had 6.5 on the board.

Sandhurst’s most potent quarter on the scoreboard was the third term, yet it was also the period in which the Magpies produced some of their most competitive football of the game.

Midway through the third quarter the Magpies had narrowly outscored the Dragons 2.3 to 2.1 for the term and had much of the play in their forward half.

However, the third quarter – which has proven an Achilles Heel for the Dragons this season – ended 8.2 to 3.4 in favour of Sandhurst as it turned a 58-point advantage at half-time into an 86-point lead by the last change.

And after Strachan kicked three goals in the opening four minutes of the final term to take his tally to nine, the main point of interest for the remainder of the match was whether he could add one more to get to double figures.

As well as Strachan’s 10 goals, the Dragons also had eight other players hit the scoreboard, including Collins, who kicked three.

Strachan led the best for the Dragons, who had Codie Price off half-back his usual creative self to also be a standout.

Jack Hayward kicked three second-half goals for the Magpies, while Jayden Templeton – who took a number of strong overhead marks – squandered the chance to have a significant impact with a return of 1.5.

Luke Bucknall and Jayden Hooper through the midfield were best for the Magpies, who have now lost 15 in a row against Sandhurst since beating the Dragons in the 2010 elimination final.