A DOMINANT second quarter paved the way for Gisborne's 44-point win over South Bendigo at the QEO on Saturday.
The Bulldogs maintained their two-game buffer at the top of the BFNL ladder with three rounds to play with their 14.14 (98) to 7.12 (54) victory.
Outside of the second term the Bloods were competitive, but as they found out the hard way - you can't lapse for 30 minutes against a quality side like the Bulldogs and expect to win.
And that lapse came in the second term, which had started with Gisborne leading by five points, 4.2 to 3.3.
The Bulldogs quickly kicked the first three goals of the second term in the first seven minutes through Matt Panuccio, skipper Pat McKenna and Harry Thomas.
The Bloods were barely able to get their hands on the ball during the run of three quick Gisborne goals, with the Bulldogs' midfield brigade of Flynn Lakey, Luke Ellings, Sam Graham, Seb Bell-Bartels, Scott Walsh and ruckman Braidon Blake setting the tone.
The Bulldogs got on top out of the middle in the second term having been belted 6-1 in centre clearances in the first quarter.
After the three early second-quarter goals the Bulldogs then added three more for the term, while the only goal South Bendigo kicked was by hard-working midfielder Liam Byrne courtesy of a 50m penalty.
The Bulldogs' 6.3 to 1.2 second quarter opened a 36-point lead for the visitors at half-time, with Panuccio having been a livewire inside 50 with three first-half goals, although, he would later hobble from the ground during the third term with a knee concern.
Having set the game up in the second term, the Bulldogs narrowly extended their advantage in the second half, kicking 4.9 to 3.7 to improve to 14-1.
Gisborne's accuracy eluded it late with the Bulldogs kicking 1.7 from their last eight scoring shots.
The Bulldogs had the clear standout player on the ground in centre half-back Jack Reaper, who was outstanding all game.
Given the amount of times the Bloods kicked the ball directly to Reaper you would have been forgiven for thinking he had a red and white jumper on as he seemingly marked everything that came his way.
"He's vice-captain of our team and I just love the way he goes about his footy. If you're going to go to a contest you have to impact it and he did that very well today," Gisborne coach Rob Waters said.
"He has been in really good form throughout the year."
The Bulldogs kicked the opening three goals of the game, but the Bloods responded well to the early challenge.
South Bendigo didn't kick its first goal until the 24-minute mark of the first quarter, but kicked three in the final four minutes of the quarter to trail by five points at the first change, before the Bulldogs ripped the game open in the second stanza.
"I thought we played some really good footy in the second quarter to build that buffer," Waters said.
"We had to roll our sleeves up in the second quarter and I thought our midfield did that. Our stoppage work was a lot better in the second quarter and we lifted our work-rate."
The Bulldogs shared their 14 goals between nine players, with Panuccio (three), Bell-Bartels (two), McKenna (two) and Matt Merrett (two) all kicking multiples, while the goal-of-the-day went to defender Liam Spear, who launched a 55m torpedo that sailed through the city end in the final quarter.
The Bloods named skipper Zac Hare their best player for his role on McKenna, while fellow backmen Daniel Johnstone and Cameron Taggert also featured among the best as South Bendigo's four-game winning streak ended.
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