Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Cats hold out Bombers

Lockington-Bamawm United held on to a 19-point win over Leitchville-Gunbower on the weekend.

GEORDIE COWAN May 5, 2014 3:04am

Cam Ross and Rhys Woodland battle it out.

Leitchville-Gunbower will come away from the weekend with a positive mindset despite losing its first game of the Heathcote and District Football League season on Saturday.

Three-time reigning premier Lockington-Bamawm United had the edge in disposal efficiency and goal-kicking, winning 12.4(76) to 8.9(57).

Reflective of a 1 v 2 encounter, the pressure enforced by both sides was tremendous and continued until the final seconds of the match.

As a result, play was scrappy at times and clean users of the ball in pressure situations were at a premium, with LBU coach Ady Dohnt chief among the standouts.

Dohnt gathered the ball seemingly at will in the first half as the Cats edged to a 13-point advantage and when the Bombers could not take full toll with the advantage of the wind in the third term, the Cats held the lead until the final siren.

The home side, celebrating the premiership victories of Leitchville in 1969, ’74 and ’75, wore a special heritage jumper for the match in front of a strong crowd at Leitchville.

Although beaten on the day, the former players would have been proud of the effort shown by the team against LBU, which has been the measuring stick of the competition.

The more experienced players recruited by the Bombers gave the team greater strength around the contest and were still prominent late in the match, with many impacting the match at various times.

Jake Truefeldt, Abe Williams and Jake Williams — who was the only Bomber to kick multiple goals — were good, while young district players Will Brereton, Hoby Bussey, Jackson McEwen and Cam Ross were also impressive.

Much of the plaudits for the Cats should be directed to their defence, which was superb in the face of a lot of forward 50m entries by the home side.

With Jonathan Hay restricting the in-form Troy Parker to just one goal, Nathan O’Brien and Simon Keleher were vital in their distribution of the ball from the back line while often under a great deal of pressure.

Ryan Jensen and Matt Bongiovanni were terrific on the wings, with their quick feet seeing the Cats break quickly and often, while Chris Hudson continued his consistent season.

Another integral part to Lockington-Bamawm United’s win was its conversion rate in front of goal, with only four behinds registered for the game.

Matt Deledio was influential in the opening quarter with three goals, finishing with four, while Kahl Oliver sealed the result with three last-quarter majors.

Lachie Collins was also busy all day with two goals.

While it was a bruising match, with many players from both teams needing ice packs at the end of the game, no-one should miss this week’s with the possible exception of LBU’s John Halloran, who was reported in the second quarter.

On an overcast day with a breeze favouring the northern end of the ground, Collins booted the first goal of the game.

Leitchville-Gunbower had been bombarding its forward line with many entries, but the Cats’ class showed as they soaked up the pressure and rebounded, with Deledio the next to convert.

Jake Williams responded with a classy pick-up and goal and then earned his team the lead after roving the ball from the front of a marking pack and snapping his second.

With goals starting to flow, the first of many wrestling matches also made their appearance as Deledio and Parker converted.

Marty Shadbolt then secured the sixth lead change of the quarter when he goaled after the siren, with the Bombers ahead 25-24, having had 10 more inside 50s.

The Cats raised their intensity at the start of the second term as Halloran goaled for the team, but the Bombers matched the pressure.

While LBU was terrific in stopping the home team’s attacks, Leitchville-Gunbower also held up the visitors’ preferred style of fast-paced football.

It was only an error in defence which allowed Dominic Conheady to goal, before a long bomb from Lee Pollock and Collins goals saw the half-time score at 45-32 in favour of the Cats.

Deledio slotted a magnificent set shot from the boundary to extend the lead to 19 points in the third term, with Truefeldt replying after some intense forward pressure.

The Bombers had the ball in their attacking half for much of the quarter but were unable to make it count.

The team missed three shots in a row and reduced the margin to four points when Shaun Douglass goaled, before Joel Helman had the chance to put Leitchville-Gunbower ahead.

However, he missed and LBU then broke away from the kick-out and Alan Stride goaled to give the Cats a 57-48 advantage at the last break.

The intensity remained high in the last quarter, but the Cats made the most of their chances with three majors to Oliver, while a late goal from Kade Merlo capped off his good second-half performance and reduced the final margin to 19 points.

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