A 121-POINT win over the reigning premiers could be Birregurra’s way of showing the league they are the team to beat.
The Saints pulled out one of the best performances of the season, opening proceedings with nine goals to Irrewarra-Beeac’s none in the first quarter.
It set the tone for the rest of the day, as the undermanned – and young – Bombers struggled to compensate for the Saints’ height and strength in their 4.5 (29) to 23.12 (150) loss.
Saints big man Sam Green was impressive across the forward line, booting seven goals and creating avenues to goal for youngster James Rowan and Jack Moorfoot, three each.
Fellow tall Tom Grayling earned plenty of the ball across Irrewarra Recreation Reserve, while centre half-back Stephen Salajan continued to impress.
“In the first quarter we played the style of footy I’m trying to play,” Saints coach Paul Lynch said.
“We moved the ball quickly and all the areas we’ve been focusing on seemed to work,” he said.
“It was nothing personal, they have beaten Birregurra in the last two grand finals and everyone knows that, but we were very keen to win and beat a quality side.”
While Lynch refused to take “too much” out of the result, knowing the Bombers had up to 12 of their starters sidelined with injuries – notably coach Khan Beckett, Tony Walker, Nathan Harty and midfielder Joel Uwland.
Beckett opted to focus on the positives despite suffering his first loss over 100 points as a Bomber.
Irrewarra-Beeac had five players make their senior debut for the season, including juniors Shaun Dell and Matt Dunne.
“It was a bit of a reality check for us, but I did expect Birregurra to come out as hard as they did,” Beckett said.
“I tried not to be too negative to the boys after the game – you can incorporate some things as long as it’s constructive,” he said.
“I picked out a few positives like the few young kids stepping up and applauded that, I find that’s a lot better for the group instead of giving them a pasting.”
A niggling hamstring injury to Saints skipper Michael Davis was Birregurra’s only concern post-match.
The crafty midfielder played no part in the game after coming off midway through the second quarter.
Imperials upstage South Colac to win rivalry cup
COLAC IMPERIALS have pulled off arguably the biggest upset of the season to claim their first Cat-or-Roo Challenge Cup in four years.
With South Colac cruising after wins against 2010 grand finalists Irrewarra-Beeac and Birregurra, many expected the Roos to be too strong for the Imps on Saturday.
But when the charging Cats, led by skipper Andrew Scott and hard-nut Harley Lewis, slammed on the first four goals while keeping their more-fancied opposition scoreless, the Roos knew they had a harder contest than first anticipated.
“It’s like the boys turned up like they was just going to win,” Roos coach Stephen Hammond said.
“South Colac were disgraceful, their handballs, kicks and marks were shocking, but credit to the Imps, they did play good football,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot to work on – we did even when we won, now we’ve got extra.”
Imps coach Craig Williams, who missed the match through injury with lively forward Ben Shaw and suspended midfielder Tyson Finnigan, said he was confident his team could get the job done.
“It was a really good win, the club hasn’t beaten a top side for a long time,” he said.
“Our intensity hadn’t been up to scratch, but on Saturday our pressure and tackling and getting in and getting the ball was fantastic.
“That’s the kind of effort we need every week, we’ve set a standard and now we need to maintain it.”
South Colac workhorses Ben Cox and Nick Dent were shining lights in an otherwise disappointing Roos performance, playing out of their comfort zones – Cox in the centre and Dent up forward – to lead a five-goals-to-one final term that almost stole the show.
But the resilient Imps held strong to take the match, and the Cat-or-Roo Challenge Cup, with a 10.8 (68) to 8.9 (57) victory.
A head and neck injury to courageous midfielder Steve Parker was the only dampener on the Imps’ memorable win.
Parker, 20, leapt for a mark in the final term at Western Oval before opposition took his legs from underneath him and he landed heavily on his back, causing whiplash and concussion.
Lorne back in top fiveby Aidan Fawkes
LORNE HAS launched itself back into the Colac district football top five after showing what it is capable of when at full strength.
The Dolphins, having regained as many as eight players who missed the round four loss to Irrewarra-Beeac, cruised past an in-form Otway Districts with relative ease.
The eight-goal win, 18.10 (118) to 10.10 (70), at Gellibrand came on the back of a 12-goals-to-five first half, which had Lorne 43 points up at the long break.
But beyond the result, and the valuable four points, the match marked the first time Lorne had produced a four-quarter performance, according to co-coach Clint Tournier.
“It’s slowly coming together. We played four quarters for once yesterday although it got a bit tight in the third quarter,” he said.
“It was pleasing. Otway showed some very good signs as well, they’ll be a side to watch at the end of the season.
“Just with the way they moved the ball from full back to full forward a couple of times on us. If they can get a bit more consistency in their game they’ll be right up there.”
The Dolphins got the jump on the Demons, leading 8.1 to 3.1 at quarter time, and did not look troubled thereafter, even though the second-half honours were even.
Key forward Daniel Hermans finished with a bag of five, just hours after landing at Tullamarine after a trip to the United States, while Ryan Evans kicked three.
Andrew Steven booted three and Kane Smartt hit the scoreboard with two.
“It was good to see for a change, our midfielders kicked a lot of goals and even Lee Hollmer got one, through hard work and running,” Tournier said.
“They’ve come from other areas of the ground, which is good. Even a couple of half back flankers kicked a goal,” he said.
Tournier was also pleased with the efforts of emerging Dolphins Tom Steven, Boe Trickey and Emilio Graziani in defence.
The only downside for the Dolphins was broken ribs to Chris Tipping, which will sideline him for up to two months.
For the Demons, big man Justin Robbins and speedy Liam Harrington kicked three each while Brett Dowie put in his best performance of the season.
Returns help Forrest to victory
THE INCLUSION of a host of key players helped Forrest make a commanding return to the winners’ list.
Lions’ 2005 premiership player Justin Bliss played his first game in Forrest’s win over Western Eagles since shifting to Bannockburn at the end of 2007.
Vice captain Trent Booth also made a timely return to the backline from injury, while utilities Shane Sliwa and Chris Bootle stepped up from the reserves.
The inclusions created a much-needed spark for Forrest in the absence of suspended playmakers Sean Calcedo and Brent Hood, and injured Simon Hay, Jake Holz and James Cochrane, as the Lions charged to a 22.20 (152) to 5.6 (36) victory.
“We were linking our runners back up and making sure we were doing the team things that we didn’t do the week before against Otway Districts,” coach Dave McKiernan said.
“We had a few outs but it’s good to have a bit of depth in the reserves,” he said.
“We had guys like Shane Sliwa who we recently picked up come through the twos and he played changing off the wing and half-forward and added more run.”
Spearhead Jared Matheson enjoyed the contestant delivery, bagging seven goals for the day while crumbers Jarryd Fitzgerald and Chris Dickensen picked up the scraps and shared 11 goals between them.
The Eagles showed promise early, but poor disposal let the game slip out of their reach in the second term despite a promising final half at Irrewillipe Recreation Reserve.
“In the first 15 minutes the standard of footy was pretty good, then all of a sudden they got a couple of fortunate goals from the boundary line and it pushed the margin out but didn’t indicate the contest,” Eagles co-coach Brian Inglis said.
“In the second quarter we slaughtered the footy, just turned it over left, right and centre and let them blow the game open,” he said.
Prominent Eagles ball-winners were impressive through the middle, while young ruckmen Mat Bowen and Ash McLachlan also won plaudits from officials in the 116-point loss.
Alvie wins in skipper Luke McCarthy’s 100th game
ALVIE’S FIRST win of the season made skipper Luke McCarthy’s 100th game for the red and white that little bit sweeter.
The Swans led from start to finish en route to the memorable 16.12 (108) to 9.8 (62) win at Apollo Bay Recreation Reserve.
The late inclusion of key position Tom McCrickard proved pivotal, with the versatile Swan booting five goals, while midfielder Liam McGuane and full back Josh McDonald played their best games for the season.
And despite playing some “scrappy football” at times, coach Murray Williamson said his team was happy to come away with the points.
“We played our best footy of the year in the first quarter, kicking seven goals into the breeze,” he said.
“It was pleasing in that our kids were able to see that they can play good footy, it’s just a matter of reproducing it now.”
The Hawks staged a final comeback in the last quarter, booting two goals to the Swans’ one but it was too little, too late to steal Alvie’s 46-point win.
Apollo Bay debutants Jake Cooper and Jesse Brown shared three goals while Alvie first-gamer Spencer Williamson was impressive.
“They’re young like us and similar in size and age, so it was a good hit-out for both sides,” coach Williamson said.
“After the game I just told our team to enjoy it and hopefully the confidence gained can get us going a bit,” he said.
“Hopefully it’s the spark we’ve been looking for to get us going on a role.”
Luke Riches’ ankle injury was the Swans’ only injury concern for the day, as the club hopes for more players to return for next weekend’s clash with Irrewarra-Beeac.
For results and ladders from the Colac District Football League season, click here.