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HEYFIELD followed on from a near-faultless home-and-away season on Saturday to secure a berth in the North Gippsland football grand final for a third consecutive season.
The Kangaroos’ six-goal to one opening quarter set the tone for the remainder of the contest as they established an unassailable lead, steam rolling Churchill 16.15 (111) to 10.9 (69).
Heyfield’s control of Saturday’s game at Stephenson Park was ensured by its midfield dominance with the onballers disposals and more than doubling the number of times they moved the ball into attack during the first term.
The Kangaroos’ 10-goal to four opening half has put fellow premiership hopefuls on notice. Their rampage was blistering with the side showing no effects of sitting out the first week of finals, if anything the break has rejuvenated the undefeated Kangaroos.
Heyfield opened proceedings, scoring the first two majors, some magic by Daniel Stubbe had the Kangaroos’ second as play concentrated in the minor premiers forward 50.
It took 10 minutes for Churchill to settle and open its scoring. The Cougars were getting their hands on the ball but struggled to outsmart its more fancied opponent.
Just as the Cougars scored, it was quickly answered and followed by another.
Joel Dinsdale shook off the close watch of Billy Wight to run into goal from 15 metres out to add the Kangaroos’ fourth. It was followed by one of Jesse Bedggood’s six majors for the afternoon from 35m out. The Kangaroos would kick two more before quarter-time.
Leading by 31 points at the first change, Nick Campbell reeled a goal back for Churchill, it was followed by three straight for Heyfield.
Luke Pratt and Daniel Stevens swooped on the loose ball in the Kangaroos’ forward 50 to again put the Cougars’ back six, led by coach Allan Chandler under extreme pressure, as they added majors to their match tally of four and three respectively.
Running off half-back, Churchill’s Travis Brighton and Chris Williams combined in the middle of the ground to set-up Hamish Towns in front of goal. Churchill’s third major halted the Kangaroos’ momentum and four straight majors.
The Cougars added another to match the Kangaroos on the scoreboard in the second term.
Churchill hit the ground running at the start of the third term, opening proceedings with what would be their first of four for the quarter. Joe Whykes, Campbell and Brighton were in on the action for the Cougars.
Two 50m penalties paid against Darby gifted Bedggood Heyfield’s first goal for the term before Saunders added another, throwing boot to ball with Churchill defender Jordon Fenech chasing him.
The scoring dried up as neither side could break through across their respective half-back lines. Fenech, Chandler and Jarrod Broadbent cut off the loose ball for Churchill, while Scott Anderson led the charge for the Kangaroos alongside Brenton and Nick Dinsdale.
Goal sneak Whykes had no such issue snapping a major for Churchill, which was followed by Brighton, his second, gifted following a free kick in front of goal. The Cougars had two on the run when Campbell added another, but it was flattened by a soccer kick by Bedggood ahead of the siren.
Bedggood continued on from where he left off in the third, registering the first goal of the final term before Darby responded with his only major for the afternoon. The full forward was kept in check by Anderson.
Churchill registered late goals but was left ruing numerous missed opportunities and poor choices over the course of the afternoon.
Heyfield’s Daniel Saunders left nothing in the locker room, Bedggood finished with a bag of six goal, Jack Woodland took on various roles in a dominant performance, Daniel Stubbe was busy, while Dave Kelly provided direction in the midfield.
Sean Humphreys was instrumental in a dominant performance against Cougars’ ruck combination.
For the Cougars, Williams found plenty of the ball lighting up the midfield, with his accelerating pace at times putting his direct opponent under pressure. Chris Weller and Brandon Mahoney were solid performers throughout the contest and never gave up, while Dean DeGroot had an unenviable job down back in restricting the Kangaroos forward entries.
HEYFIELD also booked the first place in the reserves grand final after thumping Churchill 20.22 (142) to 4.5 (29). The Cougars only kicked two goals after quarter-time.
Traralgon-Tyers United defeated Churchill 17.9 (111) to 8.11 (59) in the thirds.
Saturday at Maffra Recreation Reserve:
Seniors: Churchill v Sale City, 2.15pm.
Reserves: Churchill v Cowwarr, noon.
Thirds: Churchill v Yarram, 9.45am.