Cats rediscover top form

Cat Tyson Finnigan gets a handpass away under pressure from Eagle Nathan McNamara at Irrewillipe on Saturday.

COLAC Imperials have addressed their “selfish” football with a 99-point win against Western Eagles.

The Imps had seven separate goal-kickers in a pleasing effort for coach Craig Williams, who described the 19.10 (124) to 4.1 (25) victory at Irrewillipe Recreation Reserve as one of their best for the season.

“We definitely played really well and I was happy in that regard, we went there to play,” he said.

“Last week we didn’t play as a team so this week we put a focus on that and we had a lot of blokes who kicked goals, so we’re sharing the ball.”

Young stars Myles Benham, Jordan Smith, Harley Lewis and Callum Colvin all shared four goals in the win, while first-gamers Kallan Finn and Alex Burnett also chipped in singles.

The Cats put the pressure on the Eagles in the first quarter, with defenders Travis Cole and Simon Scott keeping them goalless while Lewis led the attacking half.

But as happy as the Imps were with the 99-point win, the Eagles were equally disappointed with the result, taking a step backwards after an encouraging few weeks.

Kirk McDonald’s debut up forward was one of few positives to take out of the result for the Irrewillipe-based club, but the loss of team-mate Hamish Gleeson, who was stretchered off with a knee injury in the second term, was another blow for the Eagles.

“At the end of the day, we were woeful and the scoreboard showed that, good footballers just don’t put an effort in like that,” co-coach Brian Inglis said.

“We’d been playing pretty good footy so it was a massive step backwards,” he said.

The Eagles will set out to keep a consistent 22 players for their remaining four games, as they aim to “redeem themselves for the club”.

Saints win blockbuster in style

Birregurra forward Nick Lynch, left, and midfielder Pat Nolan celebrate one of Lynch's three final-term goals

by Aidan Fawkes

FOR ALL the talk of season 2011 being one of the closest on record, it could just as easily be a one-horse race.

Birregurra, at its best, is flying.

The Saints turned the Colac District Football League match of the round into a one-sided affair, dominating South Colac 14.15 (99) to 7.8 (50) at a gusty Joiner Reserve.

It was a true four-quarter performance by the ladder leader, which is now odds-on favourite for the minor premiership.

Two of those quarters – the second and the fourth – were spent making full use of a stiff breeze favouring the Main Street end.

By the time Chris Roberts snapped Birregurra’s last goal of the match from the goal square, the Saints had 11.10 with the wind.

Comparably, South Colac could only manage 4.6 to the scoring end, and was outscored 2.3 to 2.5 in a match-defining third term.

Birregurra coach Paul Lynch described the effort as near-perfect and said finishing on top after round 18 would be “massive”.

“When I won at Lara we finished up on top. You get to have that week of watching the opposition plus you go in fresh,” he said.

Lynch lauded Birregurra’s intensity around the football, particularly when it kicked against the wind.

He said the Saints “followed structures perfectly” and heeded instructions for one of the first times this season.

Among their array of winners was best-on-ground Sam Green, who started forward but made his mark on the contest at stoppages and in defence.

Five-goal hero Mark Whelan, James Rowan, Matt Kofoed and debutant Jace Kelly all contributed and Jack Moorfoot had an entertaining battle with Clay Brewer in the ruck after Tom Grayling went off injured.

Daniel Roberts was the Roos’ best along with classy defender Luke Mahoney, Mick Baker and stand-in coach Brewer.

Ben Cox kicked three goals, including two which kept the Roos in the contest in the first half.

South Colac assistant coach Ash Cole said playing four quarters of football was the biggest lesson to come out of the match.

He said the Roos failed to use the wind effectively.

“The time we did get it to Coxy, he made the most of his opportunities,” he said.

“But with the wind we bombed away and didn’t play the way we should, whereas Birregurra used the ball well and kicked to space.”

Tigers spearhead back to peak

by Ben Martin

SIMPSON spearhead Aaron Harding’s return to top form could be the piece of the puzzle the Tigers need come September.

The Tigers fought admirably in last year’s finals series but lacked that second big target up forward to take the pressure off Harding’s younger brother Nick.

Aaron walked off Simpson Recreation Reserve on Saturday with eight goals to his name in a 33-point win against the reigning premier Irrewarra-Beeac, showing football followers the dangerous forward was back to 100-per-cent fitness since returning in May from a leg break.

“He’s fit and firing, his match fitness is coming back and he’s showed that the last two weeks,” co-coach Chris Walsh said.

“I don’t think anyone should be questioning his ability, I just think you’ve got to give him credit for what he’s been able to achieve,” he said.

As well as Harding, Simpson midfielders Tom Leishman and Jacob Dunkley battled hard against Bombers Rob Elborough and Khan Beckett to break the tussle in the first half, with the home side trailing by three points at the main break.

The Tigers’ defensive half worked tirelessly in the 13.12 (90) to 8.9 (57) win, led by Corey Baulch and Jamie Barry.

The team restricted the Bombers to five goal-kickers and kept dangerous duo Beckett and Tony Walker goalless.

The win, combined with South Colac’s loss to ladder-leader Birregurra, lifted the Tigers into second spot on the competition ladder.

Lorne fightback lifts confidence

by Ben Martin

LORNE has earned a handy boost in confidence from a come-from-behind victory against Alvie.

The ninth-placed Swans led by eight points at half time in the Stribling Reserve clash, with Danny Allan leading the way out of the middle.

But the home side kicked into gear in the third to steal the lead before charging with an eight-goals-to-two final quarter to take a comfortable 15.18 (108) to 7.12 (54) win.

Dolphins spearhead Ryan Evans was back to his best with eight goals thanks to the supply from midfielders Clint Tournier, Sean Smartt and Rick White.

“The win’s given us a bit of confidence, our forwards needed to get their hands on the ball and reward the work of the onballers and I thought they did that,” Lorne co-coach Drew Steven said.

Steven said the second-half fightback was a testament to the spirit of the sixth-placed Dolphins.

“Early on we had the ball but we just weren’t capitalising, overusing it a bit but we went back to the simple stuff and once we got a sniff everyone dug in and showed a bit,” he said.

Alvie coach Murray Williamson said the undersized Swans used their pace early but as his side tired, the Dolphins lost nothing in size.

“We saw it as a winnable game, we were right in it and we fell away,” Williamson said.

“Maybe we ran out of legs, we spent a fair bit of juice to get where we were so it’s hard to tell if we stopped or if we ran out of gas,” he said.

Young Alvie defender Dylan Lowe won plaudits for his efforts against Daniel Hermans, restricting the versatile big man to just one goal.

First half devastates Apollo Bay

by Aidan Fawkes

FORREST coach Dave McKiernan says the Lions’ devastating first half against Apollo Bay would stand up against their top-five rivals.

McKiernan was a content coach after watching his men execute a 28.16 (184) to 5.4 (34) defeat of the Hawks at Forrest.

More pleasing, however, was the Lions’ brand of football in a 16.5-to-3.3 opening half, which allowed them to toy with their structure as the game wore on.

“In the first half we really wanted to make sure we were doing what we would do against the top sides. After half time we gave the whole side a go. We moved a few guys forward who were playing back, we moved a few guys onto the wing,” McKiernan said.

McKiernan was keen on ensuring Forrest had multiple positives to hit its round 14 bye with, and could barely find fault in the first half.

He said the Lions resisted the urge to treat the match like the top-versus-bottom clash it was.

Simon Hay was best on ground with three second-half goals after providing run off half back. Recruit Michael Allan booted five in two-and-a-half quarters while Dean Calcedo, Sean Calcedo and Jarron Booth were also among the best.

“We’ll focus on our next game and aim to get those four points. We still have to make finals,” McKiernan said.

Frontline Apollo Bay players Jeremy Ellis, who was solid despite copping an early knock, Karl McSparron and Drew Westblade were solid in a team battling depth issues.

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