Hepburn 11.17 (83) d Creswick 5.5 (35)
By John McGregor
Hepburn outgunned a courageous Creswick side on Saturday to run out 48-point winners.
The Wickers held their own against the Burras in the first term and led by four points.
A lightning fast start to the second term by Hepburn saw Kenny Cummings slam the first goal through in less than a minute.
That was answered a minute later by Creswick’s Patrick Taranto.
Two majors from the Wickers’ Sam Gibson created a bit of scoreboard pressure towards the end of the second quarter.
Gibson’s second was a ripping 60 metre torpedo which got a roar from the home crowd.
It was a ding-dong battle with scores level a couple of times before Hepburn out-muscled Creswick and led by seven points at half time.
In the second half, it was a goal drought for Creswick while Hepburn attacked the big sticks with great desire.
It was a rampant Hepburn that ran Creswick into the ground.
Main goalscorers were Scott Wood and Cummings with three each. And there was also a great effort from Tallan Wright with two.
Defender Tanner Wills joined the party with a single and so did Brad McKay. Even Dan O’Halloran, who made his return from a long injury lay-off, shared the limelight.
The Burras were well served by backman Dan Rees and ruckman Tom Godsell popped up everywhere. Finn Anscombe was a strong kick out of defence and Liam O’Halloran was extra handy.
Creswick had some notable players, too. Darrien Mann, Matt Miller, Aaron Sedgwick and Clinton Robinson all performed well.
Two under-18 players debuted on Saturday. Max Eastman had his first victory with the Burras and Riley Makrai suffered the bitter taste of defeat for the Wickers.
Hepburn coach Siga Asa Leausa liked what he saw.
“We’re definitely showing some good signs. The way we were moving the ball from the backline was very pleasing. Breaking the lines and using the open spaces,” he said.
Creswick coach Ryan Knowles admitted Hepburn was just too good.
“They overran us in the second half. They ran in numbers and we didn’t go with them. We weren’t accountable enough,” Knowles said.
Hepburn remains ninth on the Central Highlands Football League ladder, but is now level on points with eighth-placed Learmonth with four rounds of the home and away season remaining.
Buninyong 19.10 (124) d Learmonth 4.6 (30)
By Tim O'Connor
Buninyong’s star mid-season recruit showed how important he might be to the side’s premiership aspirations with a five-goal haul on senior debut for the club.
Derrick Micallef, who has joined the Bombers from North Ballarat City, was busy in attack as his team cruised to a 94-point victory at Learmonth.
Buninyong coach Jarrod Morgan said Micallef was used as a deep and high forward and had a fantastic game on Saturday.
The Bombers blitzed an undermanned Lakies outfit in the first half and then kicked clear for an easy success.
Morgan coached from the sidelines on Saturday because of a tight hamstring and liked what he saw.
Among the side’s best was Jarrod Rodgers on a wing and key defenders Lachlan Baker and Jack Robertson.
The Lakies were without their coach Nick Willox and top players Kyle Mackay and Brenton Powell on Saturday. And it showed.
Willox said the Bombers were too quick for his side, which also lost onballer Scott Whiting before the game and saw Nathan Ross go down with a shoulder problem during the clash.
Learmonth trailed by 64 points at half time, and while never really in the hunt for victory, slowed down its rivals in the third and fourth terms.
The Lakies were best served by midfielders Jason Rae and Jake O’Donnell as well as defenders Tom and Nick Martin.
Saturday’s result leaves Buninyong in second spot on the ladder and sees Learmonth now just percentage clear of Hepburn inside the top eight.
Next round, the Bombers meet Newlyn and the Lakies take on Ballan.
Dunnstown 6.20 (56) d Clunes 7.9 (51)
By Tim O'Connor
For the second round in succession, Clunes has fallen agonisingly short of its maiden victory of the season.
Last week it was Ballan that delivered the blow, this time it was Dunnstown.
The Towners kept their name in the finals picture with a five-point success on the Magpies’ home turf.
And perhaps it could have been a bigger victory given the visitors booted a wasteful 6.20. This follows their scoreline of 5.20 from the week before, with the Towners’ two-week tally reading an ugly 11.40.
Tim Collins, Aaron Brennan and Nick English led the way on Saturday for Dunnstown, which is now just a game adrift of the top eight.
Clunes gun Jesse Baird kicked four goals and was a clear best afield for the home side, which lost Conor Hatfield and Jordan Thomas to injury during the day.
In round 14 next weekend, the Towners have the bye, while the Magpies face a difficult assignment against Beaufort.
Waubra 11.12 (78) d Skipton 6.8 (44)
By Tim O'Connor
Andrew Pitson will front the tribunal after being reported in Skipton’s loss to Waubra on Saturday.
Pitson had his number taken for carelessly striking Jarred Crabtree and has elected to challenge the charge during the week.
The Emus pushed the ladder leaders for most of the afternoon, but late goals saw the Roos run out strong 34-point winners at the final siren.
Onballer Kal Dubbeldam was named Skipton’s best, while Jack Peeters and Adam Romey were others to have good games.
Austin Murphy ended the day with a fractured finger but managed six goals in a top performance for Waubra, which also lost classy half back Matt Dawson early with a rolled ankle.
Springbank 9.11 (65) d Rokewood-Corindhap 3.6 (24)
By Tim O'Connor
Springbank notched up another win on Saturday, beating hosts Rokewood-Corindhap by 41 points.
Billy Driscoll was dynamic in attack with five goals for the Tigers, while Joel and Kieran Maher played well in the midfield, as did ruckman Brock Freeman in his return from serious injury.
For the Grasshoppers, Jordan Grant was impressive off half back and through the middle, while Tyler Mookhoek was good on the wing.
Gordon 13.11 (89) d Newlyn 9.6 (60)
By Tim O'Connor
Gordon’s seventh-straight triumph has propelled it inside the Central Highlands Football League top four.
And the Eagles’ most recent success was clinical in its nature.
Coach Ron Watt and his charges always looked to have the measure of Newlyn on Saturday, and after kicking well clear by the end of the third term, took the foot off the pedal and coasted to a 29-point triumph.
As a result, Gordon has replaced the Cats in fourth spot and – clearly – the aim is to stay there with finals drawing near.
“If you are in that position with a month to go, you want to stay there,” Watt said after the match.
In a high-scoring opening term, Ethan Crackel and Tye Murphy led the Gordon midfield which supplied great service to the likes of Adam Toohey, Matt Raworth and Brendan Sutcliffe, who booted the Eagles to a handy lead at the change.
That could have been a bigger advantage except for a free kick and 50m penalty on the siren, which Myles Sewell nailed to give the Cats some momentum at quarter time.
The game tightened up a bit in the second term, but it was still the visitors that created the better chances and managed to stretch the margin to 26 points at half time.
Gordon was moving the ball better by hand and foot in the third term and really started to stamp itself as the better side, but only managed three majors for all the hard work.
Despite that lack of damage on the scoreboard, the lead had stretched beyond 40 points and the game was all but over.
Newlyn did hold the Eagles goalless in the last quarter while adding three of its own, but that was nothing more than consolation.
Murphy was clearly the best player on the ground, while Crackel was dangerous and provided an avenue forward where Sutcliffe managed to convert a game-high four goals. Toohey, Raworth and Mick Nolan also finished with two apiece.
Big ruckman Zac May was named in the best, while the likes of Brad Hallam and Mark Gunnell were solid down back.
For Newlyn, the classy Michael Bowden had a great game, star midfielder Steve Clifton racked up plenty of possession and finished with three majors, while Dylan Fishwick drew praise from joint-coach Dan Wehrung, who admitted the Eagles were an impressive rival.
“Their pressure all over the ground didn’t allow us to get our running game ever really going,” he said.
Past Geoff Taylor Medal winner Chris Eastwell was the main injury concern for Newlyn after he hurt a shoulder in a tackle during the third quarter.
Beaufort 10.14 (74) d Carngham-Linton 4.5 (29)
By Tim O'Connor
Beaufort did as expected on Saturday afternoon, kicking clear of Carngham-Linton to win by 45 points at Snake Valley.
The Crows spoiled the party for Tim Clarke, who broke the Saints’ senior games record with his 277th appearance.
Lee Marshall booted three goals for the winners, while Brendan Howard was named best.
For the home side, Dean O’Brien and Luke Parker tried hard and were among the standouts.
Bungaree 14.12 (96) d Daylesford 9.7 (61)
By Tim O'Connor
Recruit Ryan Waight was playing just his second game for Bungaree on Saturday and led his side to an important win against Daylesford.
Waight kicked four goals and was named best as the Demons kicked clear in the last term to beat the Bulldogs by 35 points.
Daylesford star Seb Walsh made his long-awaited return from an ankle injury on Saturday, but it was his brother Xavier that was a standout for the home team.