Ladder leaders Phillip Island continued their winning streak at the weekend, keeping the Garfield Stars goalless for the first half as they secured a thumping 93-point win.
Garfield came out strong at the opening centre bounce, quickly taking hold to go for goal within the first minute.
But despite the home ground advantage, they couldn’t convert.
The Stars tried their hardest to keep the ball in their half, but the Doggies’ Henry Shawcross managed a quick shot at goal four minutes in.
Heavy showers proved detrimental for Shawcross, with both sides equal on one point.
From then on, the Islanders kept it down their end but were struggling to find opportunities to score with a strong Stars’ defence.
A set shot from Alex Redmond went just outside the posts, with a mark to his Stars’ opponent.
A few mud slides later and both teams were consistent in the contests – intercepting marks to prevent either team from gaining possession.
Brendan Kimber slotted the first goal of the match and Cam Pedersen also went for goal but missed, registering a behind.
Garfield tried to reduce the deficit with a shot at goal in the final minutes of the first term, but also missed.
This was followed shortly by Jaymie Youle’s behind, after doing a quick dance around his opponent and taking a shot.
He would’ve got it if it wasn’t for the relentless pressure from the Stars’ Lachlan Schreurs.
A clean tackle by Billy Taylor finished off the quarter with the Doggies leading by eight points.
Only having one goal on the scoreboard at the change of ends certainly wasn’t from a lack of trying from either sides, with the wet conditions playing havoc combined with strong defence from both teams.
Early on in the second term and the Islanders’ Alex Duyker took control of the ball,
booting it to Youle to have his moment and sure enough, he did it.
Despite the Stars’ go hard or go home attitude, Phillip Island’s second goal marked the beginning of the end for the home side.
The Islanders kept Garfield scoreless for the second term as they slotted five goals, albeit with four behinds.
Garfield showed signs of a resurgence with a major to Sam Batson after the main break, but the Doggies weren’t giving in – improving on their kicking accuracy with six goals, one point.
They topped off the game with another three majors to secure a 93-point lead, with a total of 15 goals spread amongst nine of the team.
Meanwhile, Garfield managed one behind in the final term.
An inspired Bunyip recorded the most important win of its season - turning around its Round 3 performance at home against Inverloch Kongwak to defeat the Sea Eagles at their nest.
The Sea Eagles held narrow leads at each quarter break leading into the last - by five points at quarter-time, three at half-time, and nine at three-quarter time - but the Bulldogs kept snarling, ultimately emerging with victory in the scheme of their season - 12.7 (79) to 10.8 (68).
Almost poetically, it was a series of the Yips' most proven players who stood tallest right when they were needed most.
The inspirational, lead-by-example Brad Walker was in everything, as was renowned big man Chris Kelf, fellow star recruit Aaron Paxton, and two of the side's genuine hard nuts in Michael Whyte and Jeb McLeod.
But it was the cunning Cley Bertoncello who had the most impact for the Yips - booting a brilliant seven majors, and backing up his five-goal haul from the week prior.Russell Bennett - Pakenham Gazette
Coming off a bitterly disappointing threegoal loss to fellow finals aspirant Nar Nar Goon the week prior in Round 13, the Demons roared back with a vengeance over the final three quarters on Saturday to inflict their old rivals, the Cobras, with their first loss of the season - 14.8 (92) to 9.14 (68).
The bitterly cold and wet conditions did little to dull some of the scintillating play by the Demons over those final three quarters - highlighted by some spectacular goals by Jason Wells (five majors) and an unbelievable individual effort from the forward pocket in front of the Kooweerup rooms by a rampaging Mitch Collins.
After trailing by 17 points at the first break, Kooweerup displayed every bit the desperation required from a side with its season on the line.
They turned that near three-goal deficit into a 19-point advantage at the main break with the wind playing its part throughout the first half.
While scoring was at a premium, and this was clearly a battle for territory - as so many wet weather games are - it was anything but a dour slog.
The impressive state of the surface of the Denhams Road ground was testament to that.
It wasn't until the second half of the second quarter that the Demons started to take control on the scoreboard - with a snap from Shannon Marsh putting the home side up by two points at the 18-minute mark. Four minutes later, after clinical finishes from the likes of Wells and Luke Walker, the Demons were 20 points up.
By that stage, the likes of Joel Gibson, Collins, Troy Dolan (in his midfield shut-down role), and Nathan Muratore had all made their presences felt.
Gibson, in particular, was uncompromising in his attack on the footy at the stoppages - which was often complemented by his ball use by foot.
But it was Liam Hetherington with his run out wide, and incredibly impressive young versatile big Nick Prowd who drew just as much attention from the crowd.
Prowd - in a ruck tandem with Collins - was a massive part of the reason why the Demons could so consistently mount scoreboard pressure throughout the day.
But Kooweerup's calling card has so often been its defensive pressure and tackling.
And as the Demons have shown so often already throughout 2019, when it's not up to scratch, they fall away noticeably.
On Saturday, that intensity and endeavour remained.
While Cobras co-captain Jackson Dalton was yellow-carded late in the second term, the Demons stayed largely disciplined. It's not something they've always managed against at Cora Lynn side that's so often had their measure in the past, but on Saturday it was a crucial trait.
In the rooms at the main break, Demons coach Ben Collins emphasised that the job was only half done. The ticks for the two first quarters meant nothing if they were followed by a pair of crosses in terms three and four.
While Collins emphasised the importance of structures, yardage, and high-percentage plays in the third, his side still stretched away even further on the scoreboard - leading by 31 points with a quarter remaining.
The Demons' at-times sluggish second-half performances in previous games spoke for themselves, but so too did their contrasting performance on Saturday.
This was a group clearly with everything to play for, while the undefeated Cobras - probably subconsciously - didn't seem to match their intensity.
Wells once again went into his bag full of party tricks in the fourth as the weather closed in. A trademark, instinctive snap put the Demons up six goals three minutes into the term, as the lights were switched on.
A superb effort from Chris Johnson on the run from long-range at the scoreboard end reduced the margin back to five goals at around the 6:30 mark, but goal-for-goal wouldn't cut it. The Cobras were running out of time.
With the margin hovering around the five to six goal-mark for much of the term, yet another Wells goal clinched the four points with just over 20 minutes gone.
The Cobras effectively finished with no bench, with leg complaints to Nathan Langley and Brady White drawing plenty of interest, while the Demons - led by a series of inspiring individual performances in the grand scheme of the team effort - showed just what they're capable of against one of the competition's benchmarks.
Dalyston had a rough afternoon at the hands of Nar Nar Goon on Saturday.
A low scoring first quarter saw the home side kick on goal three and Dalyston two behinds. That improved only slightly in the second term as the Goon kicked an additional goal and two behinds.
But at halftime Dalyston were still within a goal of the lead after putting another major and four behinds on the scoreboard to bring their tally to 1.6-12. Nar Nar Goon still sat on 2.5-17.
The Goon took control in the third after a three-goal performance that also kept Dalyston to just one goal two. The margin was 15 points as the two sides entered the final quarter.
Another 20 points went to the home side in that final quarter and the Goon finished the day 8.7-55 to 2.8-20. Dalyston had been kept scoreless in that final term.Will Watson - Warragul & Drouin Gazette
Tooradin-Dalmore took Kilcunda Bass to task when they met at Tooradin on Saturday. The home side walked away the victors with a 39-point victory – 10.14-74 to 5.5-35.
Tooradin-Dalmore were strong early, kicking three goals four to open up a 15-point lead by the end of the first quarter.
That lead was extended in the second term, with 16 points between them at the main break. The third term saw no major scores with Tooradin-Dalmore losing momentum and putting just one behind on the scoreboard.
The visitors had a poor third term also, kicking just three behinds. With Tooradin still out in front by 14 points at the beginning of the final quarter, Kilcunda Bass were going to have some catching up to do.
They managed to boot another goal, but it was not enough to overcome the four goal effort of the home side who finished the day 10.14-74 to 5.5-35.Will Watson - Warragul & Drouin Gazette
Korumburra-Bena resisted a final term push at Warragul on Saturday, defeating the Industrials by seven points.
The Giants played good attacking football with their on-ball brigade of the Snooks brothers, Macri and Monson holding up well in the contest.
Goals to Cann and Jordy Hill finished off a good first term to the side as they took a 13-3 lead into the break.
The rain set in during the second term and scoring became a huge task for both sides.
Only three behinds were kicked for the whole quarter, with Korumburra-Bena heading into the main break up by nine points.
The third started with large puddles of water covering the ground but the Giants managed to put together a goal when Josh Hill dribbled one through off the ground.
The Dusties managed a late goal but the backlines continued to control the game in the poor conditions.
The Giants led 22-12 at the final change.
The away side looked to be in the box-seat but started to turn the ball over in the final term, giving Warragul chances and allowing the home crowd to get back into it.
Cann managed to settle his side though, booting two goals for the Giants to create some breathing space.
An easy miss from the away side gave the home team hope soon after though, with the Industrials rebounding and scoring two goals to bring the game back to seven points.
Under pressure and with a win seemingly slipping from their grasp, the Giants defence stood tall, resisting a Warragul onslaught.
When the final siren sounded Korumburra-Bena emerged 36-29 victors.The Great Southern Star
LADDER AFTER ROUND 14
LEADING GOAL KICKERS AFTER ROUND 14
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Koo Wee Rup v Cora Lynn and Inverloch-Kongwak v Bunyip match reviews written by Russell Bennet reporting for Pakenham Gazette. To view original article in full online subscribe to PG here.
Nar Nar Goon v Dalyston and Tooradin-Dalmore v Kilcunda-Bass match reviews written by Will Watson reporting for Warragul & Drouin Gazette. To view original articles in full online subscribe to WGD here.
Garfield v PI match review published by South Gippsland Sentinel Times. To view original article in full online click here.
Warragul Industrials v Korumburra-Bena match review published by The Great Southern Star. To view original article in full online click here.