Cougars climb to second spot

CHURCHILL enhanced its North Gippsland football premiership credentials with a 39-point victory against Rosedale.

The win catapulting the Cougars into second position on the ladder.

In the clash between second and fourth, the Cougars ran rampant from the onset. Holding the Blues to a mere goal in the first half, Churchill displayed superior ball use and moments of brilliance which was the difference between the teams, winning 13.13 (91) to 6.16 (52).

Booting the opening two majors, Churchill were on song with ruckman Andrew Brown feeding the ball to midfielder Travis Brighton and Chris Williams, who got on top of the contest early against Craig Mayman, Rohan Diamond and Dale Fleming.

The Blues had their chances early with Luke Stuckey and defender Scott Johnstone missing set shots while at the other end of the ground, Brad Knowles and Brendan Holt converted with ease.

The Blues found themselves smothered as Churchill’s intensity and tackling caught their runners out time and time again.

Down by 22 points at the first break, Johnstone endeavoured to open the home side’s account, but his shot for goal added to a long list of behinds. Fleming didn’t let the size of Brown daunt him as he ran down the ruckman to spark his side.

With play concentrating in Rosedale’s forward 50, it didn’t take long for the side to capitalise. Andrew Flanagan snuck the Blues’ first goal through five minutes into the second term.

But as quickly as the Blues had scored, Hamish Towns and Holt combined to add another for the visitors.

It was an entertaining match with absorbing man-on-man contests all over the field, the Blues’ defence of Jed Hickey, Ryan Carpenter, Will Flanagan and Frazar Brouns held strong to hold the Cougars forwards at bay, but struggled when the opposition ran hard and fast on the rebound to score.

When the Cougars lost possession, they were disciplined in the way they set-up a zone defence and filled space, forcing Rosedale to bomb it long to Flanagan, who was kept in close check by James Hayward.

The second half was a more even affair with the Blues grinding away at the scoreboard, but the damage had been inflicted earlier with poor execution and finesse robbing the home side of the points.

Churchill registered the first goal of the third term before Rosedale drilled home the following two. A flurry of majors was answered by one of Williams’ two for the contest as emotions ran rife in a heated closing to the quarter.

The sides went goal-for-goal in the final term with Campbell’s major for Churchill tight on the boundary from outside 40 metres the major of the term.

Brighton was important for the Cougars when it mattered, his opening term effort was brilliant and set the ascendancy. Ruckman Brown worked hard, Williams and Jordon Fenech won individual contests around the ground and defender Chris Burke stand-out.

Rohan Diamond was superb in the Blues’ engine room, Brad Scott was solid and had an impact in front of goal, while Hickey was tireless.

WOODSIDE kept its finals ambitions alive with an 11-goal victory over Boisdale-Briagolong in front of Won Wron-Woodside’s 1974 premiership team.

In a high scoring first term, the Wildcats slammed home six majors and showed no signs of slowing as they registering a further five ahead of the long change to lead by more than 50 points.

The home side won 18.14 (122) to Boisdale-Briagolong 6.10 (46).

The Wildcats’ main protagonists in front of goal were Sam D’Argenio (four), Justin Staley (four) and Adrian Fazioli (three). At the other end of the ground the goals were harder to come by with Sam Howden and Jon Burge booting two each.

FOLLOWING a winless month, Gormandale caused one of the upsets of the season against Sale City.

Veteran forward Paul Richards booted six majors in his first senior appearance for the season as the Magpies won 13.16 (94) to Sale City 12.14 (86).

The Tigers caught their more fancied opponent off guard to lead by 10 points at the first break.

The Bulldogs rallied in the second term, booting three unanswered goals to put themselves back in the contest.

Led by Mitch Bennett, who booted seven majors, the Bulldogs turned a 10-point deficit into a three-point half-time lead.

The sides booted five goals each during the third term with Sale City’s experienced campaigners Ben Chivers, Jake Milham and midfielder Brad McKay leading from the front.

The Tigers responded with Richards answering the challenge on the scoreboard, Jordon Sandy creating something out of nothing on several occasions, while Nathan Brown played his role well.

Leading by eight points with a minute left on the clock, the Tigers held their composure to register their second win of the season.

HEYFIELD led from the outset in the clash between last year’s grand finalists.

The undefeated Kangaroos proved too strong for Glengarry, winning 21.21 (147) to 3.8 (26).

It was a dirty day at the office for the reigning premiers, who proved little match for the competition’s top side. Held goal-less in the opening term, the Magpies failed to again score at the same end during the third quarter.

The Kangaroos didn’t have such issues with Jesse Bedggood (five) and Joel Dinsdale (four) two of 11 individual goal scorers.

TRARALGON-Tyers United provided Yarram with spirited opposition before the Demons found their groove to record a 25-point away victory.

The Bombers benefited from the inclusion of a number of key players, including Brian Graham, who challenged the Demons’ defenders, while Pat Sharp shook off his calf injury to run with the visitors’ key playmakers.

A straight kick separated the sides at the first break before Yarram, led by Jarryd and Josh Swift, made their mark in front of goal.

The honours went to the visitors in the third term, slamming home six majors to two to establish a commanding 35-point lead one that they would fail to relinquish. The Demons won 18.7 (115) to 13.12 (90).

Dylan Rash was the Demons’ best with Matt Clavarino and Trek Davis solid contributors.

COWWARR had the bye.