IT WAS a credit to the determination of an under-resourced Kilcunda-Bass side that they were able to stay in the game against a clearly superior Cora-Lynn until half time at Bass on Saturday.

The visiting Cobras started better and looked ready to run away with, it in the first term but late goals by Killy-Bass pegged them back. And the same was the case in the second as the home side put everything into holding the visitors.

But the dam burst in the third quarter with Cora Lynn putting on nine goals to nil in a fair indication of the disparity between the sides at this stage. The length of the first quarter, running 34 minutes. had officials on the Killy-Bass bench scratching their heads, but it was actually the Panthers who came on strong to close out the term.

After a couple of quick goals right at the start of the game. Ryan Spierings brought up the Cobras’ third unanswered goal after taking an easy mark at close range. Travis Woodfield (14) was busy for them up forward, combining with Pullen for another shot soon after before Lachie Miceli was awarded a free and kicked a nice goal from the angle.

Killy-Bass attacked out of the centre after that one but couldn’t get a score and the pace with which Cora Lynn transferred the ball from one end to the other was a worrying sign – the snap by Woodfield went astray. Fernandez-Phillips also missed an easy one and it was the Panthers’ turn to score.

Scott Pugh got their first goal, kicking off the best part of the game for the home side. Winmar, Arnold, Homer, Hayden Spierings and others taking a turn on the ball were having some impact for Kilcunda-Bass and with the defenders also closely checking their opposition, the Panthers kicked a few more to Phillips and Winmar.

In the second quarter. they continued to match it with Cora-Lynn in most aspects of the game but the Cobras always looked the team most likely to go on with it and they did.

South Gippsland Sentinel Times

INVERLOCH-Kongwak got the job done against Bunyip with a 45-point win at the Bunyip Recreation Reserve.

The reigning premier did what was required to secure the four points but it was far from their best quality footy. Lewie Rankin was a standout across half back as was superstar midfielder Andy Soumilas, but credit must go to the Bulldogs who took the fight right up to the champs for three quarters.

Again, the Sea Eagles were slow out of the blocks allowing Bunyip a three-point lead at quarter time, which could’ve been more had they kicked straight. The Sea Eagles started to get going in the second thanks to some good run and carry from young gun Campbell McKenzie. Toby Mahoney and Tom Wyatt found the big sticks and the momentum began to shift. Some inaccurate kicking saw the Sea Eagles hold on to a six-point lead at the long break.

The third quarter saw the away side again struggle to convert in front of goal, which was really the theme of the day. Stumbling to a 19-point lead at three quarter time, there was some slight hope from the Bulldogs' faithful that an upset could be on the cards. But of course when it mattered the Sea Eagles stood tall and added five last quarter goals to blow Bunyip right out of the water to remain undefeated at the top of the West Gippsland ladder.

After the week off Inverloch will tackle Nar Nar Goon at home in what should be a very interesting battle.

South Gippsland Sentinel Times

Koo Wee Rup has passed its latest test – recording a 35-point win over the Stars on their own Beswick Street deck.

Hayden Stanton’s side has emerged as one of the competition’s big improvers in 2018 with plenty of youthful exuberance across the board, but these Demons – coached by his great mate Ben Collins – seem hell-bent on not letting themselves get over-run, particularly late in contests.

Saturday was testament to that.

The Stars led by nine points at quarter time and were just a goal in arrears at the main change.

But the Demons, who led by 17 points with a quarter left to play, booted four majors to just one in the last to come away with a near six-goal win, 11.8 (74) to 5.9 (39).

New to the Garfield fold this season, Leigh Diston, Tim Vrevc, Nick Macente and Tanner Stanton stood strong alongside the likes of Rhys Murphy and Sam Batson while Troy Dolan, Nathan Voss, Dave Collins, Craig Dyker and big man Rory Connelly all shone for the visitors. Jason Wells (four goals) and Mitch Collins (three) again had a real scoreboard impact up forward, booting seven of their side’s 11 majors between them.

Russell Bennett

Pakenham Gazette

KORUMBURRA-Bena won its first game for the season and only its second game in its West Gippsland league history yesterday.

The Giants registered just one victory in the league’s ­inaugural season last year, off the back of a winless season in the Alberton league in 2016.

Their 63-point thrashing of Dalyston, 17.11 (113) to 7.8 (50), was their first win at home since July 2015 in the Alberton competition.

Korumburra-Bena coach Ben McGee is a former Kor­umburra player and a dual Noble Park premiership player and coach at Clayton.

He said the Giants had been getting closer, losing to reigning premier Inverloch-Kongwak by eight points two weeks ago and to Koo Wee Rup by 15 points last week.

“Even though we hadn’t won a game, we had a little bit of confidence that we were doing the right things,” he said.

“The main thing for us was building a psychology for winning and we used that as a theme.

“It was so important for us to take this scalp because it gives us now the opportunity to springboard our season.”

McGee said centre half-­forward Jake McMillan could “take this competition by storm” after grabbing 11 contested marks and three goals.

And he was confident there was more improvement to come, with former junior Aaron Hillberg — a premiership player with Leongatha in the Gippsland League — still to debut due to stress fractures in his foot.

Hannah Driscoll

Weekly Times

Good sides just find ways to win. They don’t need everything on their terms, or all their best players starring – they just find that extra gear when they need it most.

And it’s those wins in the early part of seasons that could prove crucial at the back end as finals draw nearer.

Dean Blake and the boys at Nar Nar Goon would be sensing exactly that – currently sitting at 5-1 in a share of second on the ladder despite enormous room for improvement.

In Cora Lynn and, on Saturday, Phillip Island they’ve already defeated two finals aspirants, and they know the importance banking early wins – particularly with games against Inverloch Kongwak and Kooweerup following this weekend’s interleague break.

In reality, it’s only after the Demons game in Round 8 that the Goon will have a true indicator of how they match up against the two sides in the top three.

For now, the signs are positive – coming away with a 14-point win, 15.3 (93) to 10.19 (79), despite Beau Vernon’s Bulldogs causing some real headaches at Spencer Street on Saturday.

Big man Nick Higginson was enormous, both literally and figuratively, for the visitors – giving his midfield brigade first use. It was at the stoppages that the Island seemed to have the most distinct advantage for large parts of the contest, particularly given some of the Goon’s defensive lapses through the middle, but the home side had a more even spread of contributors overall and the class of the likes of Todd Beck (three goals) and Trent Armour ultimately shone through.

The Goon booted their first 11 goals without adding a behind, while by contrast the Island had 11 scoring shots on the board by quarter-time alone – for only two majors.

The scoreboard didn’t paint the full picture, with some rushed behinds adding to the Island’s tally, but some of their wayward goal-kicking was also noticeable – particularly in comparison to a Goon side that seemingly couldn’t miss until deep into the third quarter.

Along with some of their regular suspects (Kimber and Youle), Leigh Warne also had a real impact for the Island in his defensive role on Troy McDermott, who ultimately played a little further up the ground and slotted three majors.

Goon skipper Brent Hughes also had his best game for the season to date, which included spending periods opposed to Kimber in the middle.

Essentially, the Goon’s biggest issues for the day on Saturday were summed up at quarter time with Blake urging his men to stay alert at the contest and stop ball-watching, and his mentor Jock Holland telling the midfield group in particular to play smarter football and not all pile into the contest at once. Communication was the key.

But pleasingly for the side, they clinched the four points against a quality outfit despite having plenty of room for improvement.

Speaking to the Gazette after the contest, Blake said his side treated the Island clash like an eight-point game – particularly given their next two opponents.

“We built these three up pretty much as finals,” he said.

“A loss would have put us right back in the mix.”

While the Goon again struggled to put together a complete four-quarter performance of top-quality work rate, Blake said Beck’s game was particularly impressive in this regard – particularly in the final term when the game was there to be won.

While he acknowledged the work his side still has left to do on its defensive mindset through the middle of the ground, Blake praised the group for coming together as a cohesive unit despite its injury concerns.

There’s no doubt the Goon will be looking to welcome back a group of key players – including the likes of Matt Stevens, Tyler Payroli, and Jake Rose – following the interleague break. The group overall has had a raft of soft tissue injuries to deal with to date, as evidenced by the 30 senior players used so far just six rounds into the season.

Russell Bennett

Pakenham Gazette

Match reviews taken from articles written by Russell Bennett reporting for Pakenham Gazette, Hannah Driscoll reporting for Weekly Times and South Gippsland Sentinel Times. To view original articles online visit:

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South Gippsland Sentinel Times available to view online only via subscription.

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