HEATHCOTE V ELMORE
ELMORE has avoided a winless Heathcote District league season after ending a tough year with its first victory on Saturday.
Largely thanks to their accuracy in front of goal, the Bloods defeated Heathcote 17.5 (107) to 11.14 (80).
The 27-point victory ended an overall 17-game losing streak for the Bloods, who before Saturday hadn’t won since they defeated Heathcote – also by 27 points – in round 16 last year.
“We attacked the ball all day, took our chances when they came and had 22 blokes all pulling in the one direction,” Elmore coach Danny Brewster said.
RELATED – SATURDAY SCOREBOARD
“We got the ball in the areas we wanted to and managed to convert, which was pleasing.”
The Bloods’ accurate tally of 17.5 featured 5.2 in the first quarter, 3.1 in the second, 6.1 in the third and 3.1 in the last.
“I’d say we’d probably have six or seven players who played in their first senior win for the club today. It was good to see the boys got some reward for all the effort they’ve put in for the year,” said Brewster, who kicked four goals.
“It has been a long year, but the boys haven’t let-up… they have kept showing up to training and doing the work.”
Better players for the Bloods included Matt Thomson in the ruck and Ben Makepeace and Nathan Brewster.
“Overall we had 22 contributors, which was a first for us this year and is probably what got us the win,” Brewster said
Having spent the past two seasons at the helm, Brewster says he is keen to continue as Elmore coach next year.
“I’ll put my hand up for it. I’m all for sticking around, it’s a good group of kids that probably just needs a few more experienced players and we’ll be able to turn it around,” Brewster said.
While Brewster is keen to coach on, Saturday’s defeat signals the end of Luke Bell’s two-year coaching tenure at Heathcote, which finishes the season eighth with a 3-13 record.
“The year was less than what we hoped for going in,” Bell said.
“We had challenges right from losing a couple of players (Daniel Anderson and Blake Coyle) before the season started with knee injuries, which sapped a bit of momentum.
“But the big positive is we debuted seven players, which we wouldn’t have done for five years.
“The development of our players 21 and under has been good, but it still feels like we under-achieved.
“Personally, I’m a bit burnt out with the coaching, but I think whoever takes over will have some good kids to work with.
“There’s a good nucleus and if whoever gets the job can bring a forward or two with them, I don’t think it will be long before it can turn around.”
COLBINABBIN V NORTH BENDIGO
North Bendigo secured top spot with its 13th win in a row, but has injury concerns to captain Jarrod Findlay and Lachlan Ford heading into its ninth-consecutive finals series.
The Bulldogs put the finishing touch on their home and away season with a 14.24 (108) to 7.10 (52) win over Colbinabbin that locked up top spot.
“They were tough conditions and Colbinabbin is a good side that plays its home ground well, so to come away with a win by almost 10 goals was pleasing,” Bulldogs coach Matt Dillon said.
The Bulldogs were 34 points up at half-time when they led 8.10 to 3.6, before they added an off-target 6.14 after the main break without the injured pair of Findlay (shoulder) and Ford (foot).
“We’ll have to wait and see how they pull up, but I’d say at this stage Lachie is probably the more worrying one out of the two in terms of getting up for our first final in a couple of weeks,” Dillon said.
Centre half-back Daniel Morris, who played on Damien Carmody (two goals), Ben Knight (four goals) and Aarryn Craig led the better players for the Bulldogs, who finished as the minor premier for the third time in the past five seasons.
Colbinabbin, which ended the home and away season fourth, was best served by Chris Ford, Will Lowe and Matt McEvoy.
MOUNT PLEASANT V WHITE HILLS
Just as it did in round nine, Mount Pleasant defeated White Hills by seven points to finish in sixth.
In an identical scoreline to their first meeting when Mount Pleasant won 83-76, their return bout was also a 12.11 (83) to 11.10 (76) victory to the Blues at Toolleen.
The Demons led by 15 points at half-time, but the Blues kicked eight goals to four after the break to win their fifth game.
“White Hills was by far the better side in the first half and we just didn’t work hard enough… they were a lot cleaner and were running the ball well,” Blues coach Darren Walsh said.
“We got destroyed in the midfield, but in the second half we changed a few things up in the ruck with where we were tapping the ball and that helped our midfielders to make the play a bit more, so that was a turning point.”
Blues’ forward Ben Weightman bagged six goals, including the sealer late in the game with a classy kick from the boundary that bounced through.
Weightman, who ended the season with 60 goals, was best for the Blues, who improved this year by three wins compared to 2017.
Walsh will coach on with Mount Pleasant next year.
The game in which Jake Allport was best for White Hills brought the curtain on Brent Millar’s two-year Demons’ coaching stint.
The Demons finished seventh with their 3-13 record.
LEITCHVILLE-GUNBOWER V LBU
Leitchville-Gunbower put the foot down after half-time to defeat LBU by 70 points at Gunbower.
The Bombers were 15 points in front at half-time before piling on 11 goals to two to comfortably win 19.12 (126) to 8.8 (56).
Bombers’ forward Matt Perri snared seven goals to win the league goalkicking for the second season in a row with 68 and be one of his side’s best, along with Daniel Coates (three goals) and Matt Ladson.
The Cats had some of the wind knocked out of their sails with injuries late in the second quarter to Bart Phillips (groin) and Tom Leech (ankle).
Tyler Phillips in the ruck was the Cats’ standout, while Ricky Walsh (three) was their only multiple goalkicker.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day Andrew Cochrane played his 300th club game for LBU in the Cats’ 23-point win in the reserves in which he was one of his side’s best and kicked two goals.
WEEK ONE FINALS:
Saturday, qualifying – Leitchville-Gunbower v Huntly at Heathcote.
Sunday, elimination – Colbinabbin v LBU at White Hills.
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