It was always going to take time for this Bunyip group to find its feet under new coaches Aussie Jones and Ricky Clark.
Given the player turnover in the off-season, it had to be expected. But for Jones and Clark, this isn’t about a quick for.
They’re there for the long-term, putting plans in place to get the Yips back into premiership contention where they were not all that long ago.
But for now, it’s about continual improvement from a group that has a real mixture of experience and youth. The Dogs put their first number in the win column on Saturday with a nine-point victory over Kilcunda Bass at home, 11.5 (71) to an extremely wayward 7.20 (62).
After what he described as “some ordinary results” in the opening few rounds of his side’s 2018 campaign, Jones said it was promising that the group was able to put “three-and-a-half good quarters” together.
“The boys had got some good confidence at training, but to get a result like we did on the weekend you can’t buy that (effect),” he said. “It’s hard with our group if we don‘t do everything right, we’ll leave ourselves open to the opposition’s ability. “But (in that game) the pressure was the best we’d had, and we had more contributors than we’d had (previously).”
Jones said there were particularly encouraging signs across the board from the side, which had a raft of changes since its heavy Round 3 defeat-to Nar Nar Goon.
He said his players’ ability to play their role on Saturday was key, but he highlighted the performance of Jordan Wyatt (three goals) in particular.
“He was absolutely brilliant,” Jones Said. “He plays District ones (cricket) at Casey’ South Melbourne and didn’t do a lot of the pre-season so took him a little while to get out of that cricket mode.”
“He put in an unbelievable four-quarter performance he won clearances, kicked goals, and his work-rate first rate. He needed that bit of confidence not playing footy at all last year.”
While this year’s Bunyip side has a mixture of younger and older players, as Jones pointed out, the group overall is inexperienced in playing together.
But he and Clark are confident that with the character and ability of the players in the group, it won’t take them long to find more consistency.
“The guys know that Rick and I have signed on for three years, and we re not after a quick fix but a platform to get them back to where the club wants to be (to compete for premierships like they were prior to 2017),” Jones said.
The Yips led for most of the day on Saturday, and Jones said it was important that his players continued to play positive footy rather than going into their shells.
“When they challenged us, we responded,” he said proudly. “And we probably initiated most of the contact and the physicality.”
While Wyatt shone on Saturday for Bunyip, so too did experienced Beaconsfield recruit Damien Szwaja, Jason Wllliams, Tom Blakey (two goals), and Matt O’ Halloran.
The Panthers, on the other hand, would be made to rue their missed opportunities in front of goal. Athletic big man Taylor Gibson bagged four goals for the visitor’s, while Jeffrey Winmar and Aiden Paton continued their strong individual seasons to date.
Russell Bennett

Pakenham Gazette

By the end of the home and away season, how Nar Nar Goon defeated Cora Lynn in Round 4 won't be remembered.

But the four premiership points they got from the game could be.

If last season was any indicator, the race for the finals came down to the last day of the home and away season with Koo Wee Rup winning its last game but still missing out on percentage. There's nothing to say that same situation couldn't repeat itself, so any win throughout the home and away season is invaluable no matter how convincing, or unconvincing, the performance.

The Goon deserved its 20-point victory on Saturday, there's absolutely no two ways about that. But it wasn't the most complete of performances, not by a long shot. And many ways, that's a positive. No side wants to be at its best in Round 4.

After leading by around two goals at both quarter-time and half-time on Saturday, Dean Blake's highly-fancied side was jumped in the third. The young Cobras booted four goals to one to take a seven point lead into the final change. But injuries to Brady White (hamstring) and Jackson Dalton (foot) would prove costly as neither could take any further part in the contest, and in the final term the fresh legs and composure of the Goon proved too much to handle.

At three-quarter time, Blake focussed on his side's work rate telling his men to take the game on in the last, as a defensive mindset throughout the term wouldn't get the job done.

But ironically that's what was missing from both sides at stages throughout the free flowing, up-and-back contest in picture perfect conditions. Ultimately, the defensive presences of Daniel Battaglin and Tim Payne at either end shone through in a game featuring plenty of attacking flair, run and dash. Battaglin, in particular, was outstanding 1n his ability to read the play, while lake Smith and Trent Noy (three goals apiece) were particularly influential forward of the centre.

Todd Beck and Trent Armour both had starring roles throughout the clash, too, with Armour in particular showcasing his all around talent in a side missing a number of senior players to injury. With the combination of his ability to use the ball by hand and foot, his contested marking, his run and carry, his composure, or most crucially his defensive pressure, Armour would surely have to be considered as one of the competition's best handful of players.

Alongside Cobras skipper Payne, outside runner, Ryan Spierings (four goals) and ball winner Chris Johnson were also stellar. Though the Goon couldn't put any significant distance between them and the Cobras on Saturday, they'd gladly walk away with a 20-point Round 4 win any day of the week.

Saturday marked the 18th marking of the Cunningham Cup, named after the family synonymous with both clubs. The tally now stands at 10 victories to Cora Lynn, and eight to the Goon. Battaglin, meanwhile, was presented the Doherty Medal as the best player on the ground by Gavan Doherty the son of Bill (Doc).

"It was one of those games that was up and down for the whole first half, and then I think both Mainy (David Main) and I asked a bit more of our sides defensively," Blake told the Gazette following the clash. "I said to the boys that we looked good when we were overlapping and using our hands, but they were doing the exact same thing. That's what we tried to address -shutting them down first and then trying to work off them."

Blake raved about Battaglin's performance - much happier to be coaching him now, rather than playing against him when they were at Pakenham and Beaconsfield respectively. "He just knows where the game is at - when to run off, or when to mark and hold back, " he said.

As for Armour, Blake paid him the ultimate compliment.

"When it comes to how we want to play, if I could stand him up and just say do what he does, that' d be perfect, " he said. "He probably had 10 or 15 clearances today, and his defensive efforts are even better than what he does offensively"

Ultimately, Blake like everyone else knows his side - is a work in progress. But their upside is exactly what makes them so dangerous.

"As long as we keep going forward and keep improving on the little things each week, I think we'll start going alright, " he said.

Interestingly, Saturday's game featured four Blackwoods brothers Jake. Tom. and Sam playing for Nar Nar Goon, and their cousin Chase playing for Cora Lynn.

Russell Bennett

Pakenham Gazette

KOO Wee Rup have made light work of the struggling Dalyston, walloping the Magpies by 137 points at Dalyston on Saturday.

The Demons performance was highlighted by an eight goal haul to star recruit Jason Wells, who was at his explosive best on the lead across the forward 50. It was a tough day at the office for Dalyston who, since the loss of multiple stars from the previous season, look set for a long year.

The Demons midfield was superb, with quick ball movement from Luke McMaster and Tim Miller setting up forwards Wells and Calteri for early goals.

The lead was just 14 points at quarter time, with the Magpies able to find their way into attacking 50. However seven unanswered second quarter goals put to bed any hope of an upset victory.

Wells was on fire and with the help of attacking midfielders David Collins and Nathan Voss; the Demons were just far too quick.

The 69-point half time lead quickly turned into 89 points at three quarter time and the pain didn’t stop there, as Koo Wee Rup added a further seven goals in the final term to totally rub salt in the proverbial wound.

The Demons look to be a force in 2018 and they will look to continue their form against Korumburra-Bena at home, while Dalyston will make the tough trip down to Cora Lynn to take on the Cobras.

South Gippsland Sentinel Times

Garlield continued its stellar start to the West Gippsland football season, scoring a thrilling three-point win over Phillip Island 14-9 (93) to 14-6 (90).

The Stars continue to be a surprise packet under new coach Hayden Stanton, holding off a fast finishing Bulldogs to collect the four points against arguably a more fancied opponent.

Following an even first term where both sides registered 3-2 a piece, the Stars kicked five goals to three in the second quarter to hold an 11-point advantage at the main change.

The Stars continued that form in the third term, kicking four goals to two and an upset was brewing.

The Bulldogs charged home, kicking six goals to two in the final term but the Stars had done enough.

Tanner Stanton kicked three goals, while Jonty Bow, Blair Smith, Leigh Diston, Corie Intveen and Zac Soutar also helped the Stars maintain their unbeaten status.

Aaron Edwards booted four goals while Mark Griffin chipped in with three majors as the Bulldogs charged home. Leigh Warne, Brendan Kimber, Matthew Jones and Zak Vernon also ensured the Bulldogs remained in the hunt.

Warragul & Drouin Gazette

THE Giants took on the Inverloch-Kongwak at Korumburra on a good day for footy.
The first quarter was all IK, as its field play completely overpowered the Giants.
Four early goals put IK on the front foot, and the team ended up with a five goal haul at the end of the quarter.
Throughout the match, goal kicking was shared liberally in the IK camp. Harry McInnes, Daniel Reid, Adam Cross Toby Mahoney and Tom Wyatt claimed two goals each.
The quarter time score was Giants 0.3.3 to IK 5.3.33.
The Giants were stung into action by the coach at quarter time. They responded by kicking three quick goals to Jake McMillan, Matthew Edwards and Michael Cooke.
However, the latter half was spoiled by mistakes, which allowed IK to hit back on the scoreboard.
Going into the long break, the score was Giants 3.5.23 to IK 9.4.58.
The Giants started the third quarter with ruckman Guy Chuol, who had arrived at halftime.
The first part of the term was poor from both sides, with mistakes happening all over the ground.
However, with Chuol winning in the ruck, the Giants hit their straps and kicked three quick goals to IK’s one.
Going into the last quarter, the score was Giants 6.6.42 to IK 10.6.66.
At the start of the last quarter, IK received a free for a centre square infringement, played on and goaled to take the lead out to 30 points.
Chuol was still winning in the ruck, and the Giants were able to hit back with two quick goals.
The defence was getting on top with young Brad Monson winning plenty.
The Giants goaled through Williams Jeffs and Edwards, but a turnover allowed the Sea Eagles to goal.
Not done yet, the Giants recorded two more goals, bringing them closer.
The final siren sounded and IK was the eight point winner.
At the end of the day, the score was Giants 10.10.70 to IK 12.6.78.
The Giants congratulated Chuol on a great second half, which brought the team back into the game.
Next week, the Giants will face Koo Wee Rup and IK is away to Garfield.

Sara Vella

The Great Southern Star

Match review excerpts taken from Pakenham Gazette, Warragul & Drouin Gazette, South Gippsland Sentinel Times and The Great Southern Star.

Bunyip v Kilcunda Bass match review written by Russell Bennett reporting for Pakenham Gazette. To view original article online, visit https://pakenham.starcommunity.com.au/gazette/2018-05-01/bulldogs-start-to-find-their-bite/ (viewability may be subject to subscription requirements)

Cora Lynn v Bunyip match review written by Russell Bennett reporting for Pakenham Gazette. To view original article online, visit https://pakenham.starcommunity.com.au/gazette/2018-05-01/the-start-of-something-big/ (viewability may be subject to subscription requirements)

Korumburra-Bena v Inverloch-Kongwak match review written by Sara Vella reporting for The Great Southern Star. To view original article online, visit http://thestar.com.au/blog/giants-give-sea-eagles-a-scare/

All other match reviews are available to view online via subscription only.

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