HDFNL – Bombers gain revenge over Grasshoppers in low-scoring grind

GOTCHA: Elmore coach Danny Brewster lays a tackle on Huntly's Jack Daley on Saturday. The Hawks returned to the winner's list with a 92-point victory, while the Bloods remain winless. Pictures: GLENN DANIELS
GOTCHA: Elmore coach Danny Brewster lays a tackle on Huntly's Jack Daley on Saturday. The Hawks returned to the winner's list with a 92-point victory, while the Bloods remain winless. Pictures: GLENN DANIELS


LEITCHVILLE-Gunbower maintained its position at the top of the ladder as it avenged its loss to Colbinabbin from earlier in the Heathcote District league season on Saturday.

In a low-scoring grind where just 13 goals were kicked, the Bombers prevailed 9.7 (61) to 4.8 (32) – their 14th win in a row at Gunbower.

The Bombers led at every change, which included by 11 points at quarter-time as they kept the Grasshoppers, who had the aid of a stiff breeze, goal-less in the opening term.

“It was probably a four-to-five goal breeze Colbo was kicking with in the first quarter and it was crucial that we defended well… to be a couple of goals up at quarter-time given the conditions was probably the best quarter of footy we’ve played,” Bombers coach Michael Pilcher said.

In a game where goals were hard to come by, Daniel Coates slotting four was telling for the Bombers, while down the other end Pilcher was full of praise for 17-year-old Blake Gelletly.

Gelletly was forced to take on the full-back role after Joel Donehue injured a hamstring in the warm-up.


“It was fantastic to see the way Blake was prepared to run off his opponent and really impact the game pressing in and out of the defence,” Pilcher said.

Gun midfielder Matt Ladson and the dashing Mitch Bruns in his return to the side after almost two months out also played fine games for the Bombers.

“Mitch’s run off half-back is just so crucial to the way we want to play our football and to have him back today was fantastic,” Pilcher said.

The defeat cost Colbinabbin its position in the top three as it slipped to fourth in what was a 53-point turnaround from their round four meeting, which the Grasshoppers won by 24.

“It was tricky conditions today, particularly in the first half. There was a really strong breeze to one end and there was rain coming in sideways in the second quarter, so it wasn’t an easy day,” Colbinabbin coach Nick Knight said.

“We were definitely beaten by a better side… they are a very good team, especially at home, but I thought we were brave given we were down to two on the bench at half-time.”

The Grasshoppers lost Tom Hill (spleen) and Michael Battista (hamstring) to first-half injuries.

Colbinabbin’s four goals were kicked by Ryan Hon and Will Lowe (two each).

As well as a goal-less first quarter when they scored just 0.3, the Grasshoppers also finished with a 0.3 final term.

Will Morrow and Lowe, who had a run-with role on Bombers’ star midfielder Jack Gleeson, were Colbinabbin’s best.


Huntly has been left to count the cost of its 92-point victory over Elmore.

The Hawks on the back of two defeats in a row bounced back with a 19.18 (132) to 5.10 (40) win at home that elevated them back into the top three.

However, coach Denis Grinton has his injury concerns out of the match.

HAWKS BLOW: Huntly's Jacob Greenwood suffered a suspected season-ending knee injury in the third quarter on Saturday against Elmore.

HAWKS BLOW: Huntly's Jacob Greenwood suffered a suspected season-ending knee injury in the third quarter on Saturday against Elmore.

Jacob Greenwood has a suspected season-ending knee injury, ruckman Rhett Sutton (ankle) and Mac Whittle (groin) didn’t play after quarter-time and Jack Daley also hurt a knee.

With Sutton’s game over early, the Hawks turned to 16-year-old first-gamer Nathan Vincent – who had already played in the under-17s earlier in the day – to carry the ruck load and he equipped himself well.

However, Vincent wasn’t the youngest member of the team for the Hawks, who also had 15-year-old Bryn Burke playing his first game.

Burke kicked one goal on debut and was among 10 goalkickers for the Hawks led by key forward Luke Mann’s five.

It was one goal apiece early in the game, before the Hawks blew the Bloods away with a run of nine goals in a row that helped them to a 62-point advantage by half-time.

“It was a tough day for footy with the wind and a bit of rain; Elmore tried their hardest, but probably a bit of natural ability got us over the line,” Grinton said.

Defenders Jesse Galea and Josh Harris and Ryan Semmel, Doug Thomas and Stacy Fiske as part of Huntly’s star-studded on-ball brigade were all among the best for the Hawks.

Skipper James Harney and Ben Makepeace, who was his side’s best, kicked two goals apiece for the Bloods.


Heathcote kicked seven goals to two in the final term to beat rivals Mount Pleasant at Toolleen for its third win of the season.

Scores had been locked together at 45 apiece at three quarter-time, before the Saints – with the wind at their backs – slammed on 7.4 to 2.3 in the final term to win 13.13 (91) to 9.6 (60).

“We defended really well in the third quarter against the wind and were able to lock the ball into our half of the ground for a fair bit of it and then we cashed in with the wind in the last quarter,” Heathcote coach Luke Bell said.

“The boys have been battling away all season and it was good to see them get the reward of a win.”

Marc Millard (two goals) off half-back was the Saints’ best player, while Daniel Russell and Damien King playing ruck/forward roles were also influential.

Key defender Dale Young was named best for the Blues, who had Ben Weightman (four) and Hugo Steinfort (three) combine for seven of Mount Pleasant’s nine goals.

Like Leitchville-Gunbower’s victory, Heathcote’s win was also a reversal from round four when the Blues beat the Saints by 22 points.


North Bendigo extended its winning streak to nine, with a flying start setting up its 92-point victory over neighbours White Hills.

The Bulldogs were already 60 points up at half-time, before going on to prevail 24.19 (163) to 10.11 (71) at White Hills.

North Bendigo’s winning team included a first-gamer in Jack Francis, Jesse Evans (two goals) playing his first senior game for the club since the 2014 grand final and, following the late withdrawal of Lachie Ford (finger), Matthew Thomas lining up after he had earlier been the Bulldogs’ best in the reserves.

“With the way the conditions were today and White Hills having given us some trouble earlier in the season, I thought it was going to be a really tough day, but the boys got themselves up early and we were able to get a bit of momentum kicking six goals to none in the first quarter,” North Bendigo coach Matt Dillon said.

The Bulldogs also added another six goals against the breeze in the second term.

Darcy Richards, who came off the ground in the third term with a hip concern, and Sean Morris kicked four goals each for the Bulldogs.

Jeremy Mills (three goals), who did a power of grunt work through the midfield, and Ryan Alford in defence were the best for the Bulldogs.

The Demons’ most productive quarter on the scoreboard was the last when they outscored the Bulldogs 6.4 to 3.3.

James Avery and Brandon Vaughan-Spruce led the best for the Demons in their seventh defeat in succession.

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