READ MORE - SATURDAY SCOREBOARD - June 8, 2019
GOLDEN Square made it 27 wins in a row against Castlemaine with a 97-point victory at Camp Reserve on Saturday.
A dominant midfield performance that was kickstarted in the ruck by Matt Compston paved the way for the Bulldogs' 19.22 (136) to 6.3 (39) BFNL triumph.
While the margin was 97 points, the damage should have been far worse for the Magpies given the massive inside-50 differential of 77-21 in favour of Golden Square.
But the Bulldogs for the third game in a row failed to take full advantage inside 50, with their return of 19.22 coming off scores of 8.17 and 11.15 in their previous two matches.
The goalkicking yips that have plagued the Bulldogs of recent weeks were evident again early as they had 3.6 on the board at quarter-time.
A quarter-time scoreline with more behinds than goals on it has become the trend for Golden Square - the Bulldogs' past three scores at the first break total a wasteful 8.24 (1.8, 4.10 and 3.6).
The Bulldogs followed up with 7.5 in the second quarter, 5.3 in the third and 4.8 in the last.
While it was another hefty defeat for the Magpies, their six goals was the most they have kicked against a top-five side this season following previous returns of three against Gisborne, five against Eaglehawk, five against Sandhurst and one last week against Strathfieldsaye.
Despite spending the bulk of the day playing loose in defence, Magpies' star Angus Monfries kicked three of Castlemaine's six goals - two from snaps roving a marking contest, plus a 45m set shot from the flank on the final siren that cut the margin to under 100.
As well as his three goals, Monfries - easily Castlemaine's best - also helped to reduce the damage for the Magpies with plenty of intercept marks in the back half.
The Square midfield, which was missing captain Jack Geary, had a field day led by Adam Baird.
Baird was everywhere from the outset - he had already had three shots at goal and taken a hanger in the goalsquare by the 17-minute mark of the first term.
Baird could have had a day out in front of the big sticks, but finished with 4.5.
The skill and class of the Bulldogs' Alex Marklew was also on show as he displayed plenty of tricks with his ability to weave through traffic playing in the midfield and up forward. He finished with three goals.
The lion-heated Compston, who kicked two goals in the second quarter, controlling the ruck set it up for Square to win the centre clearances 19-7 as he teamed superbly with the likes of Baird, Liam Barrett, Ryan Hartley and co.
The Magpies' defence was under constant pressure all game - the Bulldogs had 18 inside 50s in the first quarter, 20 in the second, 20 in the third and 19 in the last.
The Bulldogs - who had a spread of 11 goalkickers - were able to generate constant repeat inside 50s by regularly chopping off Castlemaine's rebounding kicks across the centre and sending the ball back inside as the Magpies consistently struggled to hit targets out of their back half.
While the ball spent the majority of the day in Square's front half, the Magpies were able to string together consecutive goals late in the second quarter through Jake O'Brien and Finley Palmer-Jennings - his first at senior level.
However, those back-to-back goals had followed a run of 10 unanswered from the Bulldogs, who still haven't lost to the Magpies since the memorable day Castlemaine's Steven Oliver kicked his 1000th career goal in the BFNL in round 17 of 2005.
"I thought we controlled the game really well, but we'd obviously like to be a bit more polished up forward," Golden Square coach Bernie Haberman said.
"I thought we dominated the midfield and our backline was great."
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.