South Colac’s depth on show

Apollo Bay teenager Anthony Bolitho, right, tackles South Colac defender Tim Speirs.

SOUTH Colac’s player depth was on show once again during the team’s 179-point drubbing of Apollo Bay.

Reserves players Ash Borch and Chris Monaghan became the latest Roos to taste senior football this season – the 36th and 37th for the year – after a five-player turnover from South’s win against Alvie last round.

Anthony Whytcross and Rhys Tillack both missed the 27.18 (180) to 0.1 (1) win at Joiner Reserve through injury, while Zac Hammond, Adam Downard and Shaun Harrington were omitted, and starred in the reserves.

Roos coach Stephen Hammond said constant rotations kept his team in top form.

“It’ll still happen in the finals, they have to be performing to play well, a club can’t be successful by giving blokes a game because of what their name is,” he said.

“It’s up to the fellas to perform well for themselves and the team.”

Hammond was full of praise for the reserves players that stepped into the side, in particular Borch, who leads South Colac’s reserves goal kicking, but played a role in the Roos’ backline on Saturday.

South Colac forward Justin Mooney, right, breaks a tackle from Apollo Bay’s James Morgan. Mooney booted a game-high eight goals during the Roos’ 179-point win on Saturday.

“The backline was brilliant, Apollo Bay had about four opportunities to score a goal and the backline was too good, our onballers pushed back,” he said.

“Luke Mahoney and Josh Goonan have led down back all year, put Mick Baker in centre half-back and it’s not a bad half-backline.”

Justin Mooney continued his season-best form booting eight goals, while assistant coach Clay Brewer and Ben Cox shared six goals each.

In more good news for South Colac, midfielder Deon Oborne returned from an eye-socket injury to earn best-on-ground honours in the reserves.

Oborne’s return came five weeks earlier than previously anticipated, after doctors did not expect him to recover until the first round of finals.

Apollo Bay has also blooded a stack of footballers this season, with Ryan Bahyer and Dale McFarlane playing their first senior games for the season.

Bahyer and McFarlane take the Hawks’ tally of total players used to a league-high 55.

Saints take points in ugly contest

by Alex White

RELIEVED Birregurra coach Paul Lynch says his team was happy to escape with a win from an unattractive game of football.

The Saints overcame poor ground conditions and a dour Swans game plan to win 11.11 (77) to 6.3 (39) in what Lynch described as a “terrible spectacle” at Birregurra Recreation Reserve on Saturday.

“The conditions weren’t great, parts of the ground were very, very muddy but we were able to come away with the win so it was good,” Lynch said.

“Alvie tried to clog us up putting numbers behind the footy – at times we were able to get through that but they did a pretty good job.

“At times we were able to get a bit of our running game going, we could have done it better but that was the way the game went,” he said.

The win could be costly for the Saints with lively forward Tom Kininmonth injuring his knee. Lynch said Kininmonth would have an MRI scan today to determine the extent of the injury.

Experienced midfielder Chris Leeson also sat out the second half with a tight calf muscle.

Midfield general Cam Wright returned from a work trip to be best on ground, while mid-season recruit Jace Kelly also continued his strong early impressions.

Alvie coach Murray Williamson said he was disappointed with the loss but he couldn’t question his team’s endeavour.

“I was pretty happy with the boys but we still got beaten by six goals so you can’t be too satisfied,” Williamson said.

“They certainly had a dip all day and showed evidence of the improvement they’ve made over the year.”

Young gun midfielder Liam McGuane was the Swans’ best, while ruckman Scott Nolan battled tirelessly all day.

Simpson happy despite inaccuracy

by Alex White

SIMPSON co-coach Leigh Walsh says he isn’t concerned about his team’s inaccuracy after it had 33 scoring shots while cruising past Otway Districts.

Walsh said he was pleased his players were able to control the tempo of the match and create plenty of forward movements on their way to an 11.22 (88) to 8.6 (54) victory at Simpson on Saturday.

“It was a good game and we played a pretty good brand of footy,” Walsh said.

“We missed a few goals but we controlled it for pretty much most of the day,” he said.

Walsh said his players made a point of being hard at the contest and first to the football.

“We were in first and pretty hard at it – Otway is pretty well-renowned for being hard at the footy and we just had to match them in that area and we did that well,” he said.

Inaccuracy almost cost the Tigers in their win over Imperials last weekend, kicking 11.17.

Forward-midfielder Stephen McCallum played his best game for the season and was best afield, while Nick Harding marked strongly inside the forward 50 and slotted five goals.

For the Demons, influential ruckman Daniel Gage was best, along with wingman Richard White and coach Adam Harris.

Walsh will miss next week’s clash with Western Eagles after accepting a one-match suspension for striking Demon Corey Ferrari in the first quarter.

But the Tigers are likely to welcome back the injured Aaron Harding, who withdrew from Saturday’s match with general soreness, and captain Brad Salmon, ankle.

Lorne stays in contention

by Alex White

LORNE has rescued its season and put finals within reach after burying Irrewarra-Beeac with a seven-goal final quarter.

It was do or die for the Dolphins and the Bombers at Stribling Reserve on Saturday and the home side prevailed 14.13 (97) to 10.7 (67) in what was effectively an eight-point game.

The result leaves Lorne within striking distance of the top five with three winnable games to close out the home and away season against Colac Imperials, Otway Districts and Western Eagles.

Dolphins co-coach Drew Steven said the significance of the match dawned on his players at three-quarter time after they had surrendered a 16-point half-time lead to trail by three points.

“I guess the reality set in that if we don’t pull our finger out now and leave everything out on the ground, our season is gone – and the boys responded,” Steven said.

“It was definitely a good feeling after the game, the boys battled hard.

“We obviously know our season is on the line if we don’t win for the rest of the year – Irrewarra-Beeac was our major hurdle,” he said.

Steven said he and co-coach Clint Tournier didn’t over-emphasise the make-or-break nature of the game but his players were aware of what a win meant.

Dolphin Emilio Graziani was best afield for his game across half back in the second half after moving from full back, Rick White continued his consistent year while Kane Smartt had another standout game.

The Bombers are now teetering on the edge, a game and percentage ahead of the sixth-placed Dolphins, but face South Colac and Birregurra in a tough fortnight to define their season.

If they can’t manage an upset in the next two games, it is likely they will find themselves swapping spots with the Dolphins by season’s end.

Bombers coach Khan Beckett said his team remained upbeat.

“We’ll try and keep a positive frame of mind and regroup – we’ve got three more matches to go and it really determines if we do make finals and the characters of the blokes,” Beckett said.

“Their determination was really good we just couldn’t hold it for four quarters,” he said.

Lions leap to fourth

by Alex White

FORREST has all but booked its finals ticket, quietly disposing of Colac Imperials and jumping to fourth on the ladder.

The Cats were gallant again, pushing the Lions in the first half, but Forrest was too good transferring its weight of possessions into scoreboard dominance by the final siren, winning 13.14 (92) to 9.2 (56) at Forrest Recreation Reserve.

Lions coach David McKiernan said he was pleased his team had overcome another challenge on the run towards finals.

“We missed a few opportunities earlier and kicked a few points, but they were really competitive,” McKiernan said.

McKiernan said his team lifted its forward pressure in the second half after holding a 13-point lead at the main break.

He said ruckman Jake Holz was influential in the middle, while strong forward Jared Matheson booted five goals.

For the Cats, coach Craig Williams made a quicker-than-expected recovery from a throat injury to take his place and feature in his team’s best player while assistant coach Aaron Langsworth, Shaun Finn worked tirelessly.

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