READ MORE - SATURDAY SCOREBOARD - June 1, 2019
READ MORE - Huntly v Leitchville-Gunbower, round 7 | PHOTOS
NORTH Bendigo grabbed hold of top spot on the Heathcote District league ladder as it maintained its stranglehold over Lockington-Bamawm United on Saturday.
The Bulldogs replaced the Cats in pole position with their 11.13 (79) to 8.7 (55) win in the battle of the top two teams at Lockington.
The Bulldogs' 24-point triumph was their ninth in a row against the Cats and was set up by a strong third quarter.
The Cats held a slender three-point advantage at half-time, but were scoreless in the third term while the Bulldogs added 5.4 to assume control.
"Playing the top side on their home ground, we really set ourselves for the challenge," Bulldogs coach Matt Dillon said.
"It was a game that ebbed and flowed... they were very physical with us, particularly in the second quarter, but the good thing was we were able to regroup at half-time and come out from there and play the footy we wanted, which was pleasing."
In his first game back from a hamstring injury, North Bendigo key forward Brady Herdman had an immediate impact, booting five goals.
"Brady did his job really well. He draws one or two opponents to him every time, but his experience with the way he sets up the forward line is really important," Dillon said.
"To have the two key forwards (Herdman and Darcy Richards) out there today and our small forwards around them, it was certainly a better structure."
Jordan Ford playing deep in defence was best for the Bulldogs, while Joel Helman and consistent Aarryn Craig when moved into the middle in the third quarter both ignited the Bulldogs after half-time.
The loss was the second in a row for the Cats, who had Thomas Leech as their leading goalkicker with three.
The better players for the Cats - who haven't beaten the Bulldogs since the 2014 grand final - were headed by Jeremy Mundie, Zeik Johnston and Tyler Phillips.
COLBINABBIN v WHITE HILLS
Inaccuracy almost cost Colbinabbin dearly as it needed a late goal from Matt Riordan to clinch a two-point win over White Hills at home.
In another sequence of a Heathcote District opponent dominating another, the Grasshoppers made it 15-consecutive wins against the Demons with their 8.20 (68) to 9.12 (66) escape.
The Demons looked on track to knock off the Grasshoppers for the first time since 2011 before a goal in the dying stages to Riordan.
The Demons led at each of the first three breaks - by 24 points at quarter-time, 10 points at half-time and two points at three quarter-time - but not at the only time it mattered: the final siren.
It's the second time in their past three games the Demons have been leading late, only to concede the last goal of the match and lose, with the same having happened against LBU in a four-point defeat in round five.
"It was a disappointing result for the boys, but we've been playing some good footy over the past few weeks, which is positive, but it would be nice to get some reward for effort," Demons coach Sam Kerridge said.
"It was one of those games where we had our moments and they had their moments. It was a quality game of footy and they were able to come up with the goods. But we will keep chipping away."
Colbinabbin copped injury concerns out of the game to Pat O'Brien (calf) and Todd Clarke (arm), while White Hills' Pascale Craig ended the game with a sore shoulder.
Classy veteran Nick Knight, ruckman Hadleigh Sirett and Will Morrow were named best for the Grasshoppers, who improved to 5-1 ahead of a big fortnight against Mount Pleasant and North Bendigo.
The Demons - missing star recruit Jed Lamb - were best served by the lively Jake Allport, composed Rhys Irwin and Doolan Nihill.
In-form forward Mitch Dole kicked three goals.
Colbinabbin's wasteful return of 8.20 featured 0.3 in the first quarter, 3.6 in the second, 3.4 in the third and 2.7 in the last.
HEATHCOTE v MOUNT PLEASANT
Unlike Colbinabbin, Heathcote wasn't able to get away with its inaccuracy.
The Saints had three more scoring shots than Mount Pleasant, but were beaten by 17 points as the improved Blues extended their winning streak to five on the trot with their 14.11 (95) to 10.18 (78) victory.
Having led by three points at three quarter-time, the Blues finished with 6.2 to 4.0 in the final term.
Ben Weightman showed his class with a haul of six goals to be among the best for the Blues, along with recruits Zebb Murrell and Bryce Hinneberg.
The loss keeps the Saints winless, but for coach Wayne Primmer there are plenty of promising signs that a win is on the horizon.
"We had our opportunities today... we had more scoring shots than them and had we been able to kick straight early we would have given ourselves a real chance," Primmer said.
Playing at home, the Saints kicked with the aid of the breeze in the first and third quarters, but failed to take advantage of it, combining for 4.13.
In contrast, the Blues scored 11.2 during their two quarters with the breeze.
For the fifth time already this season, recruit Codie Price, playing in defence and on a wing, was named best for the Saints, while Louis Piccolo did a solid job in his run-with role on Billy Mahony.
HUNTLY v LEITCHVILLE-GUNBOWER
Leitchville-Gunbower put its scoring struggles behind it as it belted the battling Huntly by 124 points.
It was a reminder of the free-scoring Bombers of the past four years as the reigning premier crushed the Hawks 26.10 (166) to 6.6 (42) at Huntly.
The Bombers - who had been held to under 50 points in three of their first six games - showed just how potent they can still be as Jack Dye (seven goals), Logan Prout (six), Jake Vandongen (five), Daniel Coates (four), who was named best, and Tyler Jones (three) put the Hawks to the sword.
The Bombers had 10.9 on the board at half-time before kicking a remarkably accurate 16.1 in their second half blitz.
"It has been a focus of ours to improve our accuracy, which has been hurting us. We took our chances today, so we were really pleased with the result," Bombers coach Danny Teskera said.
On a tough day for the Hawks - who conceded their third score of 150-plus - Phil Ryan was their best.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.