Springbank 12.7 (79) d Bungaree 11.11 (77)
By John McGregor
Springbank took its clash with Bungaree down to the wire for a nail-biting two-point victory.
The Tigers played catch-up every quarter, although the lead changed many times in a fast-paced and torrid game.
The Demons looked hungry for the ball and led by eight points at the first change, four at half time and five at the last change.
Every time Springbank drew level and took the front, Bungaree would dig deep and forge ahead again.
The last term was a humdinger.
The Tigers threw everything at the Demons, but Bungaree stood firm until Springbank’s Billy Driscoll kicked a huge goal to trim the deficit to two points.
A quick reply from Bungaree’s Cam Jackson looked ominous, but Springbank defender Simon Quinlan found himself up forward and booted a steadying major.
One point adrift and through heavy traffic, it was Driscoll who streaked past players in the goal square and booted the winning goal.
But the five-point buffer soon started to dwindle as Bungaree poured on the pressure, peppering the goals for three behinds. The last of those was a heart-stopper, with Joel Mahar kicking a big bomb that was touched on the line.
The Tigers’ Driscoll starred with four big goals, while skipper Joel Maher and Matt Lakey booted two each. Michael Searl was judged best for Springbank, ahead of Kieran Maher, Joel Maher, Kieran Kennedy, Quinlan and Lakey.
A trio of Bungaree forwards kept the pressure on Springbank. Jackson slotted three goals and Shaun Finlayson and Scott Mann kicked two. A standout for the Demons was Matt Geary and in his company was Mahar, John Butler and David Benson.
Both sides were a man down by half time. Demon Ryan Waight and Tiger David Wall left the field with respective hamstring and knee injuries.
“It was always going to be close. It was shaky a couple of times when Bungaree kicked a few goals clear,” Springbank coach Troy Beamond said.
“It was a battle of wills in the end and we were fortunate to be ahead when the siren went. It was huge for the club knocking off Bungaree.”
Bungaree coach Heath Pyke said the loss was a huge blow.
“It obviously knocks the guts out of the boys after putting in such a great effort all day. That’s the most disappointing thing...they get no reward for their work,” Pyke said.
Springbank remains fifth on the Central Highlands Football League ladder, while Bungaree has slipped to eighth.
Ballan 10.13 (73) d Learmonth 10.12 (72)
By Tim O'Connor
Ballan drove a dagger into Learmonth’s finals hopes with a one-point win on home soil.
It was Tristan Batten that converted a late free kick into a goal to sink the Lakies, which trailed by 29 points at the last change and hit the lead deep in the fourth term.
But Batten’s winner crushed the visitors, which have now slipped outside the top eight.
Ballan coach Jason McNamara rated the victory as one of the most pleasing of the year.
“That was probably our best win because we played three really good quarters and then to get challenged, lose the lead and get enough spirit to fight back - that was pretty pleasing,” McNamara said.
Onballers Darren Tanti and Harley Bongart were good for the Blues, as was ruckman Patrick Graham.
The triumph was Ballan’s fifth from its past six outings, while Learmonth’s defeat was its third in succession.
The Lakies are now ninth and a game adrift of the eighth-placed Bungaree.
Learmonth coach Nick Willox said his side wasn’t accountable or desperate enough for three quarters.
“They (Ballan) were good on the spread and attack and beat us to the footy,” Willox said.
“It’s disappointing, but there’s good lessons to learn that you can’t just show up and expect to win on any given weekend.”
Willox said backman Zac Tunbridge sustained broken ribs during the match and rated Tony Zelencich – for his three goals – Michael Zelencich and Jake O’Donnell as the side’s best.
Next weekend, the Lakies are back home against Dunnstown, while Ballan will meet Newlyn without McNamara who will be away on holiday.
Beaufort 25.12 (162) d Clunes 3.5 (23)
By Tim O'Connor
Jack Duke showed some of his more devastating form with an eight-goal haul in Beaufort’s big win over Clunes.
Duke was named best on ground for the Crows, which thrashed the Magpies by 139 points.
Ruckman Josh McDermott also had a good day for the triumphant home side, while defenders Aidan and Josh Thompson were the better of the performers for Clunes.
Hepburn 33.14 (212) d Carngham-Linton 0.1 (1)
By Tim O'Connor
Hepburn showed little remorse for a battling Carngham-Linton outfit on Saturday.
The Burras kept the Saints goalless while piling on 33 of their own in a 211-point success.
Brad McKay had a day out with eight majors, Al Ferrier came up from the reserves and booted six, while Ken Cummings also dominated with five.
The win has lifted Hepburn into the top eight for the first time since round seven.
Luke Parker, Josh Benfield and Justin O’Brien were best in a tough day for Carngham-Linton.
Newlyn 10.10 (70) d Buninyong 10.9 (69)
By Tim O'Connor
Patrick Parr emerged the hero as Newlyn broke a long drought against Central Highlands Football League powerhouse Buninyong.
With the Cats looking beaten despite putting up a huge fight, the young forward took a strong mark and converted from long range to give his team a narrow advantage just before the final siren.
It proved the last score of the game as the visitors hung on to win by one point.
The success was the club’s first senior football win over Buninyong since 2012 and the maiden victory at the Bombers’ current home ground.
That result was also huge for Newlyn’s hopes of reaching finals, with the Cats now two games clear of the ninth-placed Learmonth.
In a scrappy opening half, there was little between the two sides.
Buninyong looked marginally more threatening and was able to take a 10-point lead into half time on the back of an end-to-end goal converted after the siren by Tim Brayshaw.
That could have sapped some of the confidence out of Newlyn, which had equal scoring shots but trailed.
But it was a different Cats outfit that emerged after the long break.
Pressure and intensity lifted and the goals started to come. Myles Sewell had been quiet early, but booted two of Newlyn’s five majors in the third quarter. That gave the visitors a surprise 14-point advantage moving into the last term.
And when joint-coach Dan Wehrung pounced on a defensive error from Buninyong in the opening minutes of the last quarter to goal, the Cats looked set for victory. But the hosts refused to lie down and majors from Isaac Baker, Sam Cooper, Jack Robertson and Anthony Ebery gave Buninyong the lead 17 minutes into the final term.
All that hard work was blown away when Parr stepped up in the big moment and kicked his side to a memorable triumph on enemy territory.
Best players for Newlyn included Liam Gill, who had a huge game in defence, ruckman Jarrod Fryar, young winger Josh Milne and backman Joel Willmott.
For Buninyong, Sam Russell was strong through the midfield and Lachlan Baker and Robertson were solid in defence.
There was some more bad news for the Bombers with Sam Turner going down with a hamstring injury in his first senior game since the start of season 2017.
Turner had off-season hamstring surgery, but it was the other leg he hurt on Saturday.
Rokewood-Corindhap 12.10 (82) d Skipton 10.7 (67)
By Tim O'Connor
Rokewood-Corindhap players sang the song for just the second time this year after beating Skipton by 15 points on Saturday afternoon.
The Grasshoppers finished the best of the two teams with a five-goals-to-two final term.
Rokewood-Corindhap’s marquee player Sam Chapman was again instrumental for the home side, kicking four goals in another best on ground display.
He was well supported by teammates Mitch McLaughlin, who kicked three goals, Brayden Ferguson and Jordan Grant.
Jack Peeters booted three majors for the Banongill Aggregation Emus, which had Mark Hoare and Lakota Stranks as the better contributors.
Gordon 19.11 (125) d Daylesford 7.10 (52)
By Tim O'Connor
Two reports were made by umpires during Saturday’s clash between Gordon and Daylesford.
The Eagles finished the day as easy 73-point winners, but had Steve Nicholson booked for carelessly striking opponent Joel Cummings.
Nicholson can accept a one-match set penalty or have the case heard at tribunal during the week.
Daylesford’s Shane Black also had his number taken for carelessly striking Gordon’s Mick Nolan. Black has accepted the one-game sanction and will miss the Bulldogs’ battle with Buninyong next weekend.
Gordon made it eight-straight wins on Saturday to keep its place in fourth.
Brendan Sutcliffe kicked four goals and Adam Toohey three, while defender Gerard Clifford was rated the Eagles’ best player after bobbing up with two majors. For Daylesford, usual suspects Joel Cowan, Xavier Walsh and Max Risstrom again stood out.
Waubra 12.7 (79) d Creswick 10.4 (64)
By Tim O'Connor
Competition pacesetters Waubra was made to fight hard for its 15-point win over Creswick on Saturday.
The Roos were challenged all afternoon, but booted clear late in the clash to remain on top of the ladder.
Nick Dinsdale kicked three goals for Waubra and was named that side’s best player, while Paul Phillips kicked the same tally for Creswick, which rated Darrien Mann and Ricky Cummins as the standouts.