Dunnstown 12.11 (83) d Creswick 12.9 (81)
By Tim O'Connor
Creswick coach Ryan Knowles was left furious following Saturday's heartbreaking two-point loss to Dunnstown.
And while he admitted his team faded badly in the last quarter, Knowles expressed his disappointment at the umpiring decisions that he felt played a part in the defeat.
“We stopped a bit ourselves, but some of the umpiring decisions were terrible,” he said.
Knowles felt both teams suffered poor decisions on Saturday, but believed some had a strong impact on the Wickers late in the clash.
Creswick led by about four goals during the last quarter, but was left to contemplate another narrow defeat when Lachlan Poulter converted from a free kick and 50m penalty shortly before the final siren.
The Towners were best served by Matt Bulluss, who kicked four goals from the midfield, while Sam Gibson was named best for the Wickers.
Learmonth 9.8 (62) d Bungaree 5.9 (39)
By Tim O'Connor
Learmonth met a ferocious Bungaree attack head-on and ran out 23-point winners on Saturday.
The Demons looked ready to scuttle any resistance by the Lakies with a full-on assault that started with three rapid-fire behinds.
But Learmonth turned the tables and upped the ante with two goals to lead by 10 points at the first change.
Bungaree again slipped off the leash and dominated the start of the second term with a quick goal from first-gamer Ryan Waight.
Then followed Chase Morgan and playing coach Heath Pyke with goals. It was game-on with the Demons leading by a point at the main break.
But the Lakies created serious one-way traffic in the third.
Learmonth dominated but didn’t kick a significant score. However, two majors from Jake O’Donnell and a handful of behinds produced 13-point lead at the final change.
Bungaree had stalled with a behind all to show for the term.
It was a confident and measured Learmonth that stretched the lead out to six goals with about 10 minutes to go in the final quarter.
There was a two-goal mini-revival by the Demons, but it was all too late.
Learmonth coach Nick Willox wanted a four-quarter effort.
“We came in at half time pretty even. That was fine. We knew our workrate and our run would break them open. It was a credit to the guys,” he said.
Bungaree coach Pyke blamed “patchy play” for falling short.
“Learmonth turned up to play and played a consistent four quarters. In the end that was probably the difference. We didn’t have enough contributors today,” Pyke said.
Lakies’ Scott Whiting was inspirational with his three majors, while Tony Zelencich and O’Donnell with two each stood tall.
Brenton Powell was the driving force for Learmonth and was the best on ground. But for grit and determination it was defenders such as Tom Martin, Jason Rae and Zac Tunbridge that could take a bow.
And also in their company was Ed Sinnot, who celebrated his 50th game wrestling with dangerous Demon forward Shaun Finlayson.
It was Finlayson’s 100th game and his first outing this season on return from injury.
Bungaree’s best included Chris Robertson, Lachlan Prendergast, Chris Cowan, Joel Mahar and Matt Sheridan. Oliver Hayes also plugged away tirelessly.
Learmonth is now fifth on the Central Highlands Football League ladder and a match outside the top four, while Bungaree is eighth and only a game clear inside the finals bracket.
Ballan 14.17 (101) d Carngham-Linton 12.7 (79)
By Tim O'Connor
Ballan spoiled the party for Carngham-Linton’s milestone man Jake Pring on Saturday.
Despite starting the game well and firing with a big third term, the Saints weren’t able to cap off Pring’s 250th senior match for the club with victory as the Blues finished full of running to clinch a 22-point success.
A small melee broke out deep in the final term, but it did little to put off the Ballan side, which had the match safely in its keeping thanks to a five-goals-to-one last quarter.
In a scrappy encounter played in drizzly rain at Snake Valley, both sides had shares of momentum, but it was the Blues that dug deep when it mattered most to secure the points.
Lachlan Isbister had a big second half and was named Carngham-Linton’s best, Pring played well in his big match, Zac Mawson collected a heap of possession, Ross Waters was dangerous in attack and kicked three goals and Justin O’Brien was often calm and collected in defence.
For the Blues, Jake Wilkie was one of four players to kick two goals and had a big say in proceedings, onballer Sam Sher was good and coach Jason McNamara was busy with the likes of Darren Tanti, Dylan Galea, Sam Hitchings and Harley Bongart.
Ballan has now won three of its past four matches to be 14th on the ladder heading into next Saturday’s clash against Clunes. Following that, the Blues have the bye before a battle with Learmonth.
Carngham-Linton, meanwhile, sits in 15th spot on the table with just one success so far in season 2018. The Saints have a meeting with Dunnstown next weekend before returning home for a clash with Beaufort.
Waubra 18.8 (116) d Springbank 7.7 (49)
By David Bilbrough
Waubra added Springbank to its list of top eight victims at home on Saturday, thrashing the Tigers by 67 points after trailing by as much as 32 points in the first term.
The Roos are firming as Central Highlands Football League premiership favourites having defeated six of the current top eight sides on the ladder, including reigning premiers Hepburn, which currently sits ninth on the table.
In a stunning comeback, the rampaging Roos outscored the Tigers 18 goals to two from the 20-minute mark of the first term.
A pleased Waubra coach Matt James explained the dramatic turnaround.
“We didn't have our hands on the footy at all in the first 15 minutes and their key players were having a lot of influence. We played into their hands a little bit,” James said.
“As a young side I think we panicked a little bit but were then able to settle and get our hands on the footy.
“We were able to play a bit faster and I think our speed got them in the end.”
The Tigers dominated the early going, suffocating the home side with an intense forward press.
Billy Driscoll bagged two and when Michael Searl threaded one through from the coaches box, the Tigers’ five-goal lead looked match-winning.
That was until two perfectly weighted kicks released Waubra vice-captain Austin Murphy, who ran in successive majors to loosen the Tigers’ grip.
The Roos then piled on six more goals to take a 20-point lead into the long break.
The home side enjoyed multiple avenues to goal with Jared Crabtree and Murphy booting three each, while skipper Tom Nash and Jonathon Neville chipped in with two apiece.
In a complete team performance, the Waubra defence held Springbank goalless in both the second and final terms. James Petrie kept Searl to just one major, while Alex McPherson and Andrew Wettenhall controlled the midfield.
Chief destroyer for the Roos was new-found forward James Lukich, who finished with seven majors.
“He's a real leader. He’s played a lot of VFL footy down back and it's just recently we've pushed him forward and it's been a pretty good move,” James said.
But best-on-ground honours were shared between ruckman Geordie Lukich, who seemed to grow taller and jump even higher as the afternoon progressed, and Nathan Patrikeos, who went to the ever-dangerous Driscoll and severely limited the star Tiger’s influence after quarter time.
Next week Springbank will look to consolidate a spot in the eight when it hosts Daylesford, while Waubra remains a game clear at the top of the ladder moving towards the home clash against Rokewood-Corindhap.
Hepburn 26.15 (171) d Rokewood-Corindhap 6.4 (40)
By Tim O'Connor
Izaac Grant charged to the top of the league goal-kicking table with a haul of 13 majors in Hepburn’s big win over Rokewood-Corindhap.
Grant, who returned to the Hepburn side due to a break in the TAC Cup season, was in sizzling form in attack and helped the Burras snap a three-match losing sequence.
In the end, the Burras won the match by 131 points to close to within a game of the top eight.
Other standouts for the Hepburn side included Brad McKay and Ken Cummings.
For Rokewood-Corindhap, Sam Chapman returned from injury and was the clear best player with four goals.
Next weekend, the Burras are back at home against Skipton, while the Grasshoppers travel to Waubra.
Newlyn 17.9 (111) d Daylesford 7.4 (46)
By Tim O'Connor
Newlyn was back to winning ways on Saturday with a 65-point triumph over Daylesford.
Reece Wynd had one of his better senior games for the Cats with four goals, while joint-coach Dan Wehrung starred alongside fellow onballer Liam Gill and defenders Joel Willmott and Wes Carter.
For Daylesford, gun midfielder Joel Cowan was in great form and Max Risstrom performed admirably in both defence and the ruck.
Beaufort 13.16 (94) d Skipton 6.8 (44)
By Tim O'Connor
Skipton led premiership contenders Beaufort into the third term on Saturday, but couldn’t hold on as the visitors kicked clear to record a 50-point win.
Michael Foster was a star for the Crows, while Jack Duke booted seven goals in his return from suspension.
Emus coach Greg Middleton said a heavy knock to Andrew Pitson and injuries to Michael Young (ankle) and Hamish Young (hamstring) hurt his side, which was led by Sam Lehmann and Xavier Lourey.
Buninyong 19.14 (128) d Clunes 4.5 (29)
By Tim O'Connor
Buninyong coach Jarrod Morgan moved around the magnets on Saturday as his side made light work of Clunes in the Nathan Shanahan Memorial Cup clash.
One of the Bombers’ players to take on an unusual role was regular defender Jack Robertson, who kicked four goals in attack to be a standout alongside Lachlan Baker, Beau Guest and Jack Romeril.
The Magpies named Jesse Baird and Callum Newton as their best in the 99-point defeat.