Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

North Bendigo wallop Leitchville-Gunbower

The Bulldogs turned on a terrific four-quarter display to dispatch the Bombers on their home turf.

GEORDIE COWAN June 2, 2014 3:33am

Leitchville-Gunbower's Joel Helman looks for an exit against North Bendigo.


Seeking its first win in four weeks, Leitchville-Gunbower was shown just how far off it is from challenging for the Heathcote and District Football League flag after North Bendigo produced a superb four-quarter performance.

The Bulldogs harried and hassled the home team all day, with their hand and foot skills often belying the slightly wet conditions that the Bombers struggled with, winning 16.17 (113) to 5.8 (38).

Leitchville-Gunbower coach Marty Shadbolt would have been extremely disappointed with his side’s output on Saturday, with ball use at the top of the list.

Time and again Bombers players missed medium-distance targets by a considerable margin, with further handling errors compounding the mistakes.

The comparative ease with which North Bendigo transferred the ball across the ground and its ability to keep the ball essentially locked into its forward half for large chunks of the match was a point of frustration for the home team’s supporters.

The Bulldogs sit second on the HDFL ladder and it is a justified position as they are the form team of the competition.

They have now defeated top four teams Lockington-Bamawm United and Leitchville-Gunbower in consecutive rounds and will play Mt Pleasant next week before the halfway mark of the season is reached.

Tyson Findlay starred for the visitors, kicking two goals in a classy performance and was ably backed up by Daniel Sipthorp and Cameron Lomas.

Ash and Aarryn Craig, also with two goals, had an impact on the game, while Jeremy Mills finished with three goals after many shots at goal.

Darcy Richards was another player to stand out, providing an effective rebounder across half-back and holding many marks throughout the afternoon.

North Bendigo’s victory was as much about enforcing its style of play, with the players using their superior strength to outmuscle their Leitchville-Gunbower opponents in one-on-one throughout the day.

The Bulldogs locked the ball into its attacking half for vast periods of time, earning repeat inside 50s to put the Bombers’ defenders under immense pressure.

As well as its poor disposal, the hard running and tackling which characterised the home team’s gallant effort against LBU four weeks ago was not to be seen and further added to the sense of disappointment.

Young defender Will Brereton was one player who could hold his head high for the day, as well as Brad Perry, Steve Pretty, tall Lee Pollock and defender Sam Hawkins, while Russell Lee slotted straight back into the side from injury to add some class and run.

Jye Keath was also a solid contributor across half-back, with Riley Keath also impressing, while Hoby Bussey and Joel Helman produced some good passages of play and Jake Williams finished with three goals.

In cool and overcast conditions, the visitors started the game on top and did not look back.

In a pattern which was to be replicated time and again, the Bulldogs won the clearances and pushed the ball forward, only for their constant pressure to tell and earn shots at goal.

The Bombers were unable to break free of North Bendigo’s oppressive grasp with their best attribute — accurate disposal and run — somewhat lacking.

After the visitors kicked the opening three goals, a Joel Helman handball opened up a contest before Williams converted.

Cameron Moore replied with a long bomb after a scrappy bit of play, before Shadbolt goaled close to the siren to trail 27-13 at the first break.

Shadbolt let his players know how unhappy he was at the break, pointing to the team’s poor entries inside 50m and the turnovers which had cost them.

The second quarter consequently started in nightmare fashion for the home side, when Findlay immediately goaled from a turnover.

In a repeat performance from the opening term, the Bulldogs dictated play and probably should have been further ahead at half-time having 21 shots to seven.

Williams kicked the Bombers’ only major for the quarter — a long set shot guided home — while a host of Bulldogs’ players added to the scoreboard.

Leitchville-Gunbower looked more determined in the third quarter, showing good intensity around the ball to slow the visitors’ attacks down, but once Mills goaled about 15 minutes into the quarter, the Bulldogs kicked away again to lead 88-30 at the last break, with Bussey kicking the home team’s only major.

Shadbolt asked his team to finish the game off on a high and take some momentum into next week, but again it was North Bendigo who started the term better.

Aarryn Craig strolled into goal barely 30 seconds into the quarter, before Shaun Kellow drilled a bullet from the pocket on the run.

Clint Richards and Tom O’Loughlin saw the visitors kick four goals in every quarter, before Williams booted the last goal of the match as the Bulldogs ran out 75-point winners.

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