The Bulldogs returned home to face bottom-of-the-ladder Mansfield Eagles in a game Tatura was expected to win comfortably, and the final result was a convincing 83 point percentage-boosting win.DOUG MILLER August 6, 2014 3:45am
For the second week in a row the Bulldogs blooded an under-18 player, this week it was Brayden McGregor and his poise and class clearly showed he is a promising player.
James Wall and Rian McGough had VFL duties with Richmond, and Tom Miller was still battling a foot complaint.
Jack Ritchie who received concussion against United was also rested.
James Fraser earned a recall after having a week in the reserves.
After an even opening stanza in which the Eagles displayed form that was contrary to their ladder position the Bulldogs slipped into gear for the final three quarters to put in a polished performance.
Sonny Whiting was lively from the start and his ability to lead to space and more importantly have the ball delivered to him lace out saw him slam through 10 goals for the match.
Whiting had Tatura’s first goal on the board at the six-minute mark, however the Eagles replied with the next three goals.
A skill error across half-back led to the third major.
The Eagles were clearly winning the contested ball and clearances.
Whiting was on the end of good delivery from Tom Sullivan and this was followed up by a running goal to the consistent Tim Lanyon.
A two-point lead at the first break after 12 inside 50s to the Eagles’ six, emphasised an inability to get full value for effort, compared to the Eagles’ five scores from six entries.
A critical head injury to Eagles gun Ben Fagan mid-way through the first term saw him take no further part in the game, robbing the Eagles of a trusted scoring alternative.
The second term started with Tatura frittering away scoring opportunities before a free kick to Whiting in the goal square saw him post his third for the day.
When Paul Kirby kicked his first at the 14-minute mark the Bulldogs were suddenly out by 18 points. It was as if a switch was flicked and all of a sudden the home team were hitting targets and running hard to create space.
Lanyon and Rob Montgomery were prominent in the centre and Montgomery capped off a great term with a goal.
Whiting, was not only kicking goals he also set up quite a few and his accurate passing allowed Sullivan to run onto the ball and slam through Tatura’s seventh goal.
Just prior to half-time Whiting helped himself to his fourth goal for the half. A 36-point lead was just reward for some dominant football.
The second half had the Bulldogs maintain their ruthless approach and Shannan Broadbent, in perhaps his best game for a while, snapped the opening goal inside the first minute.
An eight-goal term was punctuated by an injury to runner Carl Walters who had a niggle in his calf requiring him to have a rest.
McGregor showed his class when he evaded opponents and then hit Whiting on the lead to the applause of team-mates.
Brendan Vanderdonk was pleased with the display and at the final break challenged the defence to keep the Eagles to under seven goals.
Youngster Sean Martin was also challenged to finish with a big effort and he certainly fulfilled his coaches demands.
Unfortunately the Eagles were able to winkle out three goals for the term thus breaching the seven goal limit.
Billy Lovel, who never stopped presenting, won plenty of ball in the final quarter but he couldn’t split the middle of the uprights and his conversion will be an area to practice.
A highlight of the term was a spectacular mark to Whiting who then hit the ground running and kicked his ninth for the day. He soon followed up with his 10th in a brilliant solo performance.
James Sullivan, who had been a great contributor threaded the final major of the day to deliver an 83-point win.
Billy Hicks, who has returned in brilliant form after injury, sat out the last quarter with a tight hamstring which will not keep him out next week. Youngster Matt Ryan rolled an ankle and he will also be monitored during the week leading up to the trip to Euroa next week.
The victory was once again a team effort and the performances of Liam Borrelli and McGregor from the under-18s were a talking point among the supporters, both looking very much at home at this level.
This gives more depth to the list — a necessary ingredient for finals success.
Score: Tatura 20-16-136 defeated Mansfield 8-5-53.
Goals: S. Whiting 10, P. Kirby 2, T. Sullivan 2, T. Lanyon 1, R. Montgomery 1, S. Broadbent 1, B. Lovel 1, D. Flynn 1, J. Sullivan 1.
Best: S. Whiting, S. Broadbent, T. Lanyon, R. Montgomery, J. Fraser, T. Sullivan.
With a realistic chance to return to the winners list against the lowly placed Eagles, the Bulldogs wasted early opportunities with a solitary goal, the only result from seven scoring efforts in the opening quarter.
A highlight was the two near misses from Sammy Green, one a scissor kick that missed everything.
Green is a player who has improved and never gives up, battling out every contest.
The game was a battle between two even sides with the visitors holding a two-point lead at the final change.
Ben Harris provided a target up forward with strong marking and his three goals were match winning.
Steve Barrett was silky skilled in mid field and he has great poise and delivers the ball well.
A pleasing aspect of the game was the form of Corey Mallon, Dylan Burls, James Nihill, Jack Ballantyne and Matt Cornwall — all young boys with plenty of skill.
A three-goal-to-one final term saw the Bulldogs get a well-deserved 17-point win.
Stray shooting for goal resulted in the margin being much closer in the end. Seven goals from 26 shots is not great conversion.
Score: Tatura 7-19-61 defeated Mansfield 6-8-44.
Goals: B. Harris 3, C. Mallon 2, S. Barrett 1, D. Burls 1.
Best: C. Mallon, S. Barrett, D. Burls, J. Nihill, J. Ballantyne, M. Cornwall.
Playing with the bare 16 players the young pups were up against some big-bodied opposition.
Jordan McGregor, younger brother of Brayden, came up from the under-16s and showed he is a player of the future with a polished performance.
Zave Ballis and Michael Archer also won their share of the football and with a big pre-season they will become good players in this competition.
Josh Pena and Daniel Maher were also two players who battled till the final siren.
Jack O’Toole tried hard against the odds and unfortunately he was red carded for an undisciplined display, robbing the side of an extra player late in the game.
With the two best players from the team in the seniors it makes it difficult for the young team to be competitive, however their commitment cannot be faulted.
Score: Tatura 3-4-22 lost to Mansfield 25-9-159.
Goals: J. McGregor 1, R. Evans 1, N. Baldwin 1.
Best: Z. Ballis, M. Archer, J. McGregor, J. Pena, J. O’Toole, D. Maher.
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