NOT too many teams win a game of football with just one goal on the board at half-time, but Heathcote did on Saturday as the Saints ended their 15-game losing streak at the expense of Huntly.
In a game at Heathcote marred by inaccuracy from both teams - they combined for 10.32 - it was the Saints who prevailed by 34 points, 7.21 (63) to 3.11 (29).
"There was nothing wrong with the conditions... we just didn't take our chances. We kicked eight points in the first quarter and six of them were from 30-35 metres out," Heathcote coach Wayne Primmer said.
The Saints went to quarter-time with 0.8 on the board and at half-time they were 1.11 and leading the Hawks (2.4) by one point, with just three goals kicked for the first two quarters.
The Saints' 1.11 in the first half was followed by 6.10 in the second, while the Hawks could muster just 1.7 after the break.
The win was Heathcote's first since beating Mount Pleasant by 31 points in the corresponding round 13 last year, and also its first against Huntly since 2011.
"I felt we had their measure all day. We won plenty of the footy, but kept them in the game by not kicking straight," Primmer said.
"We're progressively getting better, which is the pleasing thing. We've been able to stick with the better sides for periods, but today was a day where it was a couple of sides of similar ability playing and a matter of could we be hard enough, tough enough and strong enough for long enough, and we were, which is really pleasing."
The best for the Saints was the versatile Dylan Robinson, who played through the midfield.
"He's highly skilled, wins a lot of footy, is strong over the ball and was really good in the midfield for us today," Primmer said.
Dillon Hardy gave the Saints plenty of run from the back half, while Codie Price played a superb leader's game.
"Today I wanted Codie to be that real on-field general in telling blokes where he wanted them to go and what he wanted them to do," Primmer said.
"He reads the game so well and it was basically a day where if Codie gave an instruction, it had to be followed."
The Saints' victory came with the added bonus of it lifting them off the bottom of the ladder, with that position now filled by Huntly, whose best was Jaydon Cowling, while Jack Burns kicked two of their three goals.
NORTH BENDIGO v MOUNT PLEASANT
A bitterly disappointed Mount Pleasant coach Darren Walsh conceded his team raised the white flag in the second half of its game against North Bendigo.
The Blues were outscored 16 goals to three after half-time as the Bulldogs won by 107 points, 22.12 (144) to 5.7 (37), at Atkins Street.
The result was a massive 121-point turnaround on their round four meeting, which the Blues won by 14.
"I was pretty happy with the way we were going in the first half," Walsh said.
"We had our opportunities and were only four-and-a-bit goals down and working hard, but the boys gave up after half-time... simple as that.
"We had a first-gamer today in Jackson Hufer out of the under-17s and I was embarrassed that he had to go through that in the second half."
The Blues' cause wasn't helped by the three late withdrawals of Charles Trotman, Bryce Hinneberg and Taig Griffin.
North Bendigo's 107-point win was kickstarted by another top game from the competition's most in-form player in Joel Helman, while Zach Alford (three goals) and Aarryn Craig also continued their superb seasons for the ladder-leaders.
Gun Bulldogs' forward Brady Herdman with six kicked more goals than Mount Pleasant, Jordan Collins added four and with another three, Ben Knight kept intact his record of hitting the scoreboard in every game this season.
Class forward Ben Weightman kicked four of Mount Pleasant's five goals, while Luke Marchesi also battled hard to be named best in the Blues' third loss in a row.
LBU v LEITCHVILLE-GUNBOWER
Lockington-Bamawm United coach Kahl Oliver rated his side's 75-point win over Leitchville-Gunbower its best four-quarter performance of the season.
The Cats won their fifth game in a row in convincing style, 20.7 (127) to 7.10 (52) at home, with Jarod Bacon the standout for the victors.
The classy Bacon booted six goals, becoming the sixth LBU player this year to kick at least six goals in a game.
"Jarod has been playing that half-forward/wing role this year kicking the ball inside 50, but today he got on the end of a few himself and I haven't seen a game as good as that for a long time," Oliver said.
"He was very dominant... he kicked six and set plenty of others up as well."
Bacon and Jacob Gardiner (four goals) were the two best for the Cats, who had Lachlan Collins suffer a hamstring injury and veteran Nathan O'Brien hurt a shoulder.
"Overall it was a really good team effort with no passengers; it was the best we've played over four quarters for the year," Oliver said.
The trio of Brady Hore, Matt Pollock and Logan Prout have been the Bombers' three best players this year and were again on Saturday. Jake Vandongen kicked three of their seven goals.
ELMORE v WHITE HILLS
White Hills grinded out a 26-point win at Elmore on a heavy ground still feeling the effects of the slogfest conditions a fortnight earlier.
Just 12 goals were kicked - six in each half - as the Demons won 8.11 (59) to 4.9 (33) to move back within four points of the top five.
With goals hard to come by, the skill of the Demons' Jed Lamb rose to the fore as he slotted four in a victory where White Hills' better players were headed by Kris Bedford, Kaiden Skelton and Rohan Bowles.
Elmore's four goals were kicked by the duo of their best, Rhys Healey, and James Harney, who slotted two apiece.
"It was one of those games with a lot of ball-ups, a lot of congestion and clearance work, which was what we wanted,'' Elmore coach Danny Brewster said.
"We had a couple of lapses throughout where they were able to get a few easy goals and in a low-scoring match that's the ball game."
After kicking eight against Elmore earlier in the year, this time Demons' forward Mitch Dole was held goal-less by Tyler Oliver.
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