MERRIGUM continues to pull off gutsy victories — this time honouring a club legend with a seven point win over Dookie United.
Geoff Connally played his 300th game for the Bulldogs on Saturday — a remarkable achievement that was topped off with a win.
‘‘I think Geoffa was the happiest man in Victoria on Saturday night and that was just great to see because he has been a legend of our club,’’ coach Steve Lawlor said.
‘‘I think what he saw on the weekend made him realise he is going to be able to watch Merrigum play some good football in the years to come.’’
The win meant Steve Lawlor’s side joined Lancaster and Tallygaroopna on four wins apiece at the top of the table.
The Bulldogs were pushed at the start of the game, with inaccurate kicking meaning they went in to quarter time down 1.5 11 to 3.1 19.
Lawlor fired his charges up at quarter time and they answered his call – kicking three goals to one in the second term.
However, straight kicking still eluded the Bulldogs, as they went into half time leading 4.10 34 to 4.3 27.
The two sides traded blows in the second half, both kicking three majors in the third term and two each in the last.
Eventually, it would be Merrigum’s behinds that would prove the difference, winning 9.16 70 to 9.9 63.
Sean Reidy continued his strong start to the year with another good showing, while Jacob Chessells has announced himself as a star of the competition.
‘‘It was a really good win for us, it’s pleasing to see our younger guys stepping up and taking on leadership roles around the club,’’ Lawlor said.
Merrigum face Murchison-Toolamba this week.
THE girls have had a rough trot.
To come up against Avenel first in the season is enough to take the air out of anyone’s tyres, but last week against Dookie was an unknown.
As the newcomer to the league it’s anyone’s guess how much of a challenge they’ll be but the Merrigum girls found that out, losing 32-41.
Coach Louise Richards said the girls needed consistency to hold off a United effort.
“We played three quarters of good netball but we were let down by our third,” she said.
“In the heat we just ran out of legs and we made some changes in the last quarter which improved our accuracy but the third quarter had already taken its toll on the final outcome.”
Ebony Halliwell and Allana Adams were awarded best on for their work.
“Eb gave 110 per cent by chasing up loose balls and performing some great intercepts,” Richards said.
A special mention goes to Alannah Scopelliti in wing defence who stuck tight to her player and got some good intercepts down the court.
This week the girls face Murchison-Toolamba at home as the visitors come off a healthy win against Rushy last week.
Richards expects the game will be tight.
“They’ll be similar to us so it’ll be another competitive game and we’ll need to work on some proper systems down the court and really mould as a group,” she said.
LANCASTER made it four in a row to sit top of the KDFL ladder after a dominant 23.18 156 to 5.10 40 win over Longwood on Saturday.
It was goals galore at the Recreation Reserve as the Lancaster forwards ran riot. Skipper Jack Donnell slotted five majors while Michael Hill (4), Chris Eddy (3) and Jack Elliot (2) also cashed in.
The Wombats asserted their control early in the game, kicking 4.6 to 1.1 to enter the first break with a comfortable 23-point lead.
Lancaster didn’t rest on its laurels though – coming out in the second term and blowing the game open with a six-goal quarter.
A 66-point lead at half time proved just the beginning for the ladder-leaders as they kicked 13 second-half goals – eight in the third term and five in the last.
Michael Hill backed up a solid display last week with an even better performance to be named his side’s best.
Logan Demasi played his best game for the season, while captain Donnell was inspirational.
‘‘Really impressed with our effort, and our back six in particular,’’ coach Corey Carver said.
‘‘We moved Jack (Donnell) down forward this week and had him swapping deep which worked well so it’s something we will look to do more often.’’
Lancaster faces Rushworth this week.
THREE wins and one loss.
The Lancaster girls have been able to ease into the season with the only real learning experience being the juggernaut that is Avenel.
And a fairly comfortable win against Longwood last week, 44-33, means the team is sitting pretty in the competition.
Co-coach Laura Thomson said she was impressed with how the girls have come along.
“It was a good day and we had a good win. We had some B graders on the bench ready to go but we pushed through which was a good test of our fitness across the game,” she said.
To the girls’ credit, they managed to keep a solid line-up rather than chopping and changing throughout the game.
“It was a really good opportunity for our girls. We called on Ella Jackson when we had an injury and she shot her first A grade goal in that couple of minutes on the court,” Thomson said.
Thomson said it wasn’t all smooth sailing but the match gave the girls a chance to hit their stride, which they did.
“Longwood gave us a good run for the day, they’ve developed and are becoming good competition for us,” Thomson said.
“Compared to the side we’ve faced in previous years it’s becoming a great match-up.
“They haven’t had a lot of wins on the board but they have built up their strength and recruited well, which is a credit to them.”
But it was a solid performance in goals from young gun Kelsey O’Neil that left quite the impression for her first season at the senior level.
“She held herself really well against some pretty physical defenders and got some really strong rebounds,” Thomson said.
“Over time we’ll see her improve even more as she works on her skills and mainly her confidence – I have no doubt she can prove herself to us.”
For this week against Rushworth, Thomson said the girls are settled and now they’re looking to cement their plays.
“We’re looking forward to having Sophie back and having a solid run on court, hopefully the girls will have settled into their positions and we’ll gel as a team,” she said.
STANHOPE led all day against Nagambie at Stanhope Recreation Reserve to eventually run away 13.13 91 to 6.11 47 winners.
The home side backed up its round three demolition of Undera with a dominant first quarter, kicking 4.2 to Nagambie’s 1.3 to lead by 17 points at the first break.
The Lakers fought back in the second term, balancing the game and wrestling back some momentum from the Lions.
Each side kicked three goals leading into half time, and Stanhope went into the main break with a 19-point lead.
An arm-wrestle of a third quarter saw the Lions stretch their lead to 28. Nagambie will rue some bad finishing skills in this quarter, kicking 1.6.
A dominant last quarter from the Stanhope boys ensured they finished comfortable winners by 44 points.
James Fraser continued his hot start to the year, being named in his side’s best players for the third game in a row. Cobey Aynsley kicked another three goals to take his season tally to 12, while Jack Young again proved he is going to be a prime mover in the KDFL this season.
Stanhope faces Dookie this week.
THE girls are getting close to a full team but they just can’t rally the numbers.
Last week against Nagambie the girls couldn’t sustain their efforts, winding up 19 goals short, 38-57.
Coach Kerrie Gray said it was a strong start but it started to fall away soon after.
“We had a really good first quarter but then we lost players to injuries and didn’t have the depth to cover against a fairly classy side,” she said.
“We started out strong and had a five-goal lead on them in the first few minutes but then we just couldn’t sustain it once a couple of the girls were injured. Nagambie has a lot of experience and depth.’’
Best on went to Jenna Oliver for her consistency and pressure on her rivals through the game and Chicky Barr gets a mention for her work up the attacking end.
But they just can’t get their on-court presence sorted.
“It’s getting close to having a full team but not yet. We had Molly Breen coming back from an ankle injury so she was getting rotated around the court,” Gray said.
This week the girls are looking to bounce back against Dookie.
“They’ve been fairly competitive so far but you never know how you’ll go until you play them. I imagine it won’t be an easy game for us,” Gray said.
“We’re looking to improve on our decision making under pressure, last week we were just outclassed.”
A STRONG second half from Girgarre was enough to get it over the line against Avenel on Saturday.
The two sides went goal-for-goal for most of the first half, with the Roos leading by just two points at quarter time and then again at the main break.
However, whatever Shannon Tucker said in the sheds obviously got his charges up and running as they kicked nine goals to three after half time to finish 15.8 98 to 9.3 57 winners.
Antonio Barca was once again dynamic in the forward half, kicking four majors.
The livewire has now booted 10 goals for the campaign, which is his highest season tally after kicking nine in 14 appearances last year.
Damien Dalziel kicked three goals in his first match for the year while Rowan Priest, with three goals, continued his goal-kicking form.
Ashley Hughes backed up his solid game against Violet Town last week with another good performance also.
Girgarre sits fifth on the KDFL ladder with a 3-1 record and will face Longwood this weekend.
ONE more quarter probably would have worked in favour of Girgarre last week, it wouldn’t have got them a win but they would have at least closed the margin.
A second-quarter blowout meant the girls couldn’t regroup in time to get back at Avenel, going down 15-47.
“It was frustrating, we played a good first quarter but then lost goals and soon we were just playing their game,” coach Chloe Kavanagh said.
“I think it was about 18 goals to four. If that didn’t happen we could have been in with a chance but Avenel started the zone defence and we couldn’t get there.”
Erin Potter was best on for her efforts at GK, coming on at half time and keeping Avenel down to 10 goals late in the game.
Elise Jones stepped up from B grade to make numbers, putting in a stellar performance in wing attack and centre.
“Elise is normally a goaler so Avenel gave her the run around,” Kavanagh said.
It was a big day for Jac Gahan who was celebrating her 50th game with the club, but it wasn’t an easy one.
“She was working hard in the goals for the day, in what was a fairly physical match too,” Kavanagh said.
“One of our goalers and centre were off the court so we had to make it work – we’ll be trying to regroup this week.’’
Kavanagh said the focus of this week will be for the girls to stick to their guns.
“We need to focus on sticking to our game and the set plays we’ve been working on; the girls got rattled in the second quarter and didn’t bounce back,” she said.
“After the game we had a chat and recognised what we did wrong on the day and hopefully we’ll be able to fix that.”