Bloods whip Storm in Tannery wind

By Richard Jones

SOUTH Bendigo retained its unbeaten 2009 Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football League record with a 70-point win over Strathfieldsaye at the Tannery Lane Oval on Sunday.
Inspired by midfielders Shaun Bergin, Brady Childs, Neville Clark and Dujon Fuzzard the Bloods had the four premiership points in the bag by early in the second term.
On a windy, wet and stormy afternoon, the Storm was not allowed to get away to its customary blistering start. It was South that did all the early running on the way to an 18.16 (124) to 8.6 (54) victory.
Both coaches, Rick Coburn (South Bendigo) and Clint Whitsed (Strathfieldsaye), agreed it had been “a difficult day” to play football.
But the Bloods adapted much more swiftly to the swirling wind and banged home 5.3 at the clubrooms end by quarter-time to the Storm’s solitary major.
Strathfieldsaye full-back Brenton Hall restricted South’s Dayne Frew to just one goal for the day, the Bloods’ opening score. Even with Frew well held, Childs bobbed up with five goals (four of those in the opening three quarters), gritty forward Jackson Ireland added another three while Bergin and Fuzzard contributed two each.
The first half wasn’t attractive. Turnovers, underground foot passes and numerous out of bounds on the full marred the game as a spectacle.
The Bloods summed up the wind strength better when it was their turn to kick to the clubrooms end, or Tannery Lane end, posting nine majors there including five in the opening term.

And the defence led by Michael Leech, Leigh Rees and Julian Lake held the Storm to 1.5 (11) by half-time with livewire winger Lachlan Sharp the only Strathfieldsaye player able to boot a major.
In the meantime the Bloods had 8.5 (53) on the board with Childs, skipper John Hardinge and busy Aaron Connaughton adding the second term goals at the Sheepwash Creek end.
Rain tumbled down steadily throughout the third term yet South managed to boot 4.5 at the Tannery Lane goalmouth. Bergin and Fuzzard coped better than just about any other player with the rain and wind. Their ability to swoop on the loose ball, collect it as if on a dry day and find a teammate was inspirational.
The wind had dropped to a gentle breeze as the last term opened and spectators were treated to a goal-fest. Twelve majors were booted in the last quarter with the Storm keeping pace with South, thanks to three majors to hard-running Jono Gawthrop. He worked hard all afternoon.
While Gawthrop was busy at the clubrooms end Ireland (2), Childs, Gavin James, Gavin Bowles and Bergin were on target at the unfancied Sheepwash Creek end.
Coach Coburn had moved Michael Leech into the front half for the final thirty minutes and he combined well with the free-running South linkmen.
Coburn, who came off late in the game with cramp and a mild hamstring niggle, agreed the Bloods had an even spread of goalkickers.
“It was hard to read too much into the game,” Coburn said, “because of the conditions but there’s no doubt we’re not as one dimensional as we have been up forward.
“We now have quite a few avenues to goal. And even though our midfielders dropped off a bit for 10 minutes or so in the last quarter allowing Strath to kick a few more goals than they should, our defence was fantastic all game.”
Storm coach Whitsed said his side’s last quarters in the opening two weekends had been their worst. “Then today our last quarter was our best for the day.

“I was pretty happy with six goals in the last and we come up against another top side in Golden Square this week, so we get another chance to judge where we’re at,” he said.

South Bendigo       5.3      8.5       12.10           18.16 (124)
Strathfieldsaye     1.0      1.5        2.5             8.6  (54)

Goalkickers — South Bendigo: Brady Childs 5, Jackson Ireland 3, Dujon Fuzzard, Shaun Bergin 2, Aaron Connaughton, Gavin Bowles, Gavin James, John Hardinge, Dayne Frew, Rory Alexander. Strathfieldsaye: Jonothan Gawthrop, Lachlan Sharp 3, Andrew Thompson, Ryan Pedrotti.

Best — South Bendigo: Shaun Bergin, Brady Childs, Dujon Fuzzard, Aaron Connaughton, Jackson Ireland, Neville Clark, Michael Leech. Strathfieldsaye: Jonothan Gawthrop, Ryan Pedrotti, Lachlan Sharp, Brenton Hall, Michael Pilcher.

VOTES in Bendigo Advertiser Player of the Year award

5: Shaun Bergin (South Bendigo)
4: Brady Childs (South Bendigo)
3: Dujon Fuzzard (South bendigo)
2: Aaron Connaughton (South Bendigo)
1: Jono Gawthrop (Strathfieldsaye)

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