McIvor Times - - SPORTS - By DAR­REN LEWIS

IT WAS another tough day at the of­fice for Heath­cote’s se­nior foot­ball side on Sat­ur­day, crash­ing to a 98-point de­feat at home to North Bendigo.

With so many reg­u­lar starters miss­ing from the team, Saints coach Luke Bell and his charges were al­ways go­ing to strug­gle against the pow­er­ful Bull­dogs com­bi­na­tion in their Heath­cote and Dis­trict Foot­ball League match-up.

The open­ing quar­ter was a re­peat of the sea­son so far with a poor start giv­ing North Bendigo a free rein.

For­tu­nately for the Saints, the Bull­dogs did not take full ad­van­tage of their dom­i­nance and only scored 4.11.

It was a far more de­ter­mined Saints ef­fort in the sec­ond term and they made North work hard for every goal.

The ef­fort of the team must be recog­nised given they had lost three play­ers be­fore half-time, leav­ing them with only one player on the bench.

De­spite these chal­lenges the team con­tin­ued to force North to work harder than they had ex­pected with Dil­lon Hardy and Jonty Kelly tremen­dous in de­fence.

Dan Rus­sell used his height and pace at every op­por­tu­nity and he forced North to go wide in their ef­forts to kick goals.

His dash­ing runs out of de­fence and work around the ground when ruck­ing saw him awarded the best Saints player on the day.

Darcy McLean has en­joyed an out­stand­ing year and he was a four quar­ter con­trib­u­tor, us­ing his pace and dash to great ef­fect.

Tom Pain has also en­joyed a great year and his pace and strength around the packs gave the Saints some bite at ground level.

The Saints are fast run­ning out of fit play­ers but will steel them­selves for the big clash with El­more this Sat­ur­day be­fore en­joy­ing a week off due to the bye.

Photo: Dar­ren Lewis

Darcy McLean was once again a prime mover for the Saints, us­ing his pace to great ef­fect against North Bendigo on Sat­ur­day.

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