A SHARP day in front of goal propelled Colbinabbin to a comfortable 45-point victory over rivals Mount Pleasant in the Heathcote District league on Saturday.
The Grasshoppers converted 16 of their 22 scoring shots in their 16.6 (102) to 8.9 (57) victory at Toolleen in the clash of third v fourth.
Colbinabbin was quick to assert its authority on the contest, leading by 25 points at quarter-time and extending its advantage to 43 at the main break as the Grasshoppers ended the Blues' five-game winning streak, while extending their own run of victories to five on the trot.
"We put a big emphasis on this game. We know Mounts have been starting games better than us of late, so we had a big focus on that," Colbinabbin coach Julian Bull said.
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"Our game is built on pressure and we wanted to make sure that was right on in the first quarter and that's what set us up."
The Grasshoppers' accurate 16.6 in front of goal was a far cry from the week before when their 8.20 against White Hills almost cost them the game.
"We still had a number of wasted opportunities today, but structurally we looked a lot better," Bull said.
"We went forward a lot better and gave ourselves opportunities in better spots, but there were still patches of footy where we gave the ball straight back to Mounts, so there's still plenty to work on."
In his first game back from the double setback of a hamstring and calf injury, forward Daniel Connors kicked three goals for the Grasshoppers before being rested in the final term
Defender Damien Carmody was best for the Grasshoppers, responding to a challenge from Bull.
"For a bloke who is one of our genuine guns, Carmo has been a bit down, so we let him know that this week and that we needed a big game out of him," Bull said.
"He would have had a dozen or so contested marks today, which was fantastic."
And Ben Southam and the evergreen Nick Knight both shrugged off Mount Pleasant tags to also be among the Colbinabbin standouts ahead of another big game next Saturday against North Bendigo.
The Blues named Cameron Moore, who had the job on Connors, their best player, along with Jesse Tuohey and Bryce Hinneberg.
WHITE HILLS v HUNTLY
White Hills shrugged off a plucky Huntly in the second half to kick clear and win by 58 points.
An upset looked possible when the Hawks led the Demons by nine points at half-time, 6.9 to 5.6, at White Hills.
However, the young Hawks were unable to go the distance as the Demons slammed on 11 goals to one after half-time to prevail 16.14 (110) to 7.10 (52) for their third win.
Gun recruits Jed Lamb (six) and Mitch Dole (four) combined for 10 goals for the Demons as they beat an opponent they had lost to by 50-plus points in each of their previous four meetings.
"Our pressure for the first half was terrific, but with such a young group we just couldn't sustain it," Huntly coach Denis Grinton said.
"I thought their top line players, especially Sam Kerridge in the middle and Jed Lamb up forward, rose to another level.
"They put a decent margin on us in the third quarter and we just didn't have the avenues to goal after half-time."
The Demons split the game wide open with a 7.3 to 1.0 third quarter.
"We had four 16 year-olds and four 17 year-olds and about another six under the age of 20, so we were very young today," Grinton said.
"But that's the path the club is going down now that we no longer have the Melbourne guys travelling up... we want to expose as many young players as we can to senior footy."
The clear standout for the Hawks was Harry Whittle, who had a massive midfield game.
"We took the stats and Harry had 40 touches and 15 marks... he was absolutely superb," Grinton said.
ELMORE v LBU
Lockington-Bamawm United returned to the winner's list at Elmore as defender-turned-forward Rhys Woodland became the fifth Cats' player to boot at least six goals in a game this season.
Woodland was swung from centre half-back to full-forward and the move proved a masterstroke by Cats' coach Kahl Oliver.
Woodland outscored Elmore off his own boot with eight goals in the Cats' 20.12 (132) to 5.8 (38) victory over the Bloods.
"We've got Patty Gardiner unavailable soon for three weeks while he's overseas, so I wanted to see some different looks up forward that could work for us while he is out," Oliver said.
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"So we put Rhys forward today... he kicked 120 goals in the under-17s one year when they won a flag, so I knew he could play forward and he was just unstoppable.
"He took a lot of big marks, he was good on the lead... he played really well."
Woodland joins Patrick Gardiner, Lachlan Collins, Thomas Leech and Stanley Brentnall as Cats' players to have booted at least six goals in a game this season.
The loss was the fourth heavy defeat in a row for Elmore, which was again slow out of the blocks when it trailed 4.5 to 0.2 at quarter-time.
Bailey Boyack was named best for the Bloods for the second game in a row.
NORTH BENDIGO v HEATHCOTE
North Bendigo was at its brutal best in the first quarter as it put Heathcote to the sword in its 32nd win in a row at Atkins Street.
The Bulldogs were already 60 points up at quarter-time as they led 9.6 to 0.0 on the way to a 23.26 (164) to 6.3 (39) triumph in the battle of top v bottom.
"It was the best quarter I've seen us play in terms of being direct, being clean and using the first option," North Bendigo coach Matt Dillon said of the first term.
"To Heathcote's credit though, they hung in after the first quarter, applied a lot more pressure and made it a bit harder for us.
"It was pleasing to come away with a big win."
Minus Brady Herdman (hamstring tightness), the Bulldogs swung Shane Harris to attack and he made the most of the opportunity, slotting six goals.
Fellow forward Darcy Richards kicked another five goals to now have 16 in his past four games, while skipper Jarrod Findlay set the tone in the midfield for the Bulldogs with a superb captain's game.
"Ballsy (Findlay) was the catalyst for the first quarter. His work at the stoppages, along with Joel Helman, Jake Hyland and Tyson Findlay, really set us up early," Dillon said.
The result was another demolition the Saints have copped at the hands of the Bulldogs, who have belted Heathcote by at least 100 points in six of their past seven meetings.
Jack Brooks battled hard to kick four of Heathcote's six goals, while Saints veteran Luke Bell was named their best player.
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