Rovers bounce back

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - BEYOND THE BOUNCE - By Rob Pop­ple­stone

Hill End bounced back from a dis­ap­point­ing open­ing round loss to reel in and de­feat a gal­lant New­bor­ough, 11-8 (74) to 8-8 (56).

Hill End were wel­comed to New­bor­ough with tor­ren­tial rain and that proved the ma­jor op­po­nent of both sides early.

Jared Risol was busy in the open­ing min­utes for the Dogs, while the Rovers re­ally strug­gled to string pas­sages of play to­gether in the wet and slip­pery con­di­tions.

There was some ex­tra heat in the con­test, given two for­mer Bull­dogs in Luke Mulqueen and Josh Hecker were this sea­son lin­ing up for Hill End.

New­bor­ough’s Michael Ge­lago­tis was re­warded with a goal af­ter some tremen­dous pres­sure up field, and that was quickly fol­lowed by Ph­llip Hicks con­vert­ing just mo­ments later.

The Bull­dogs had al­ways set them­selves to make a state­ment in the early part of the sea­son by hav­ing the side up and about early. On and off field, there is a sense that this sea­son could be some­thing spe­cial.

The Rovers how­ever, had been seething all week over their first half at home to Trafal­gar cost them any chance of tak­ing the round one points.

With that in mind and with in­ten­sity lift­ing, a melee be­tween play­ers was fol­lowed by a Hill end goal to Noah Ketchen.

Dy­lan Brooks and Ambu Uliando were start­ing to have an im­pact around the packs for the vis­i­tor.

In a game in which the mo­men­tum was con­tin­u­ally chang­ing, the Bull­dogs pres­sure con­tin­ued through Michael Rosato and his work at stop­pages, but against the run of play, coach Hill End’s Mike Santo found Isaac Ketchen who goaled.

The home side con­tin­ued to keep their op­po­nents at bay, a bril­liant goal by Ge­lago­tis un­der pres­sure and in traf­fic was an­swered by the Rover’s Santo who also con­verted on two oc­ca­sions within min­utes of each other.

Only five points sep­a­rated the two sides at half time, New­bor­ough in front but un­der pres­sure as the con­di­tions started to im­prove in the third quar­ter.

Yet an­other melee caused by manic in­ten­sity and player frus­tra­tion in the try­ing con­di­tions, opened the door for Nathan Perkins to goal for the Rovers.

Santo chipped in for his third of the day and the vis­i­tors had turned the five point deficit into a five point lead at the fi­nal break.

Uliando was hav­ing a huge im­pact, his work in the cen­tre square pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­nity for Santo to make it four and open their lead to bet­ter than two goals early in the last.

Dy­lan Brooks first goal of the day, seem­ingly gave the Rovers a match win­ning lead, be­fore Ge­lago­tis kicked two more goals to make it four for him and have the Bull­dogs within reach of an un­likely win.

Hill End to its credit, re­sponded to the chal­lenge through Mulqueen who goaled twice, and with Perkins grab­bing his sec­ond the lead shot out to 24 points be­fore Josh Simp­son squeezed in a late ma­jor, the fi­nal mar­gin 18 points.

Hill End look­ing ready to take a gi­ant step for­ward in 2018.

Yal­lourn-Yal­lourn North Yar­ragon

Win­ning at home was cru­cial for the Bombers, es­pe­cially back to their home ground where so much of their good footy is played.

Yal­lourn Yal­lourn North 6-11 (47) de­feated Yar­ragon 1-4 (10), the score line an in­di­ca­tion of the sort of con­di­tions both sides con­fronted.

Af­ter be­ing held score­less at quar­ter time, only three be­hinds were added in the next two quar­ters for the vis­i­tor be­fore fi­nally scor­ing their soli­tary goal for the game through Buck­ing­ham in the last.

Try­ing hard for most of the day for Yar­ragon were Gleis­ner, Smith, Budge and Fol­let. Trafal­gar v Mir­boo North Trafal­gar made it two scalps in a fort­night af­ter ac­count­ing for Mir­boo North in an­other low scor­ing match 5-12 (42) to 1-3 (9), mak­ing them one of just three sides to re­main un­de­feated af­ter two rounds.

It was al­ways go­ing to be a dan­ger­ous game for the reign­ing pre­miers, up against a Bloods side who were im­pres­sive round one win­ners at home.

The fact the Tigers could only score the sin­gle goal for the match through Richards is a huge con­cern, and even that came in the very last quar­ter.

That said, the Bloods had only man­aged to find the big sticks on two oc­ca­sions them­selves, be­fore kick­ing three more in the fi­nal term.

The home side had five goal kick­ers, all with one each, and were best served by Do­ran, Mann, Brock and Van Scha­jik. Boolara v Thor­p­dale Tipped to be all one-way traf­fic, Thor­p­dale were com­fort­able win­ners in their 12-11 (83) to 6-2 (38) win over Boolarra.

For the Blues bet­ter play­ers in­cluded Ben­nett, Redl, Atkin­son and the Col­lie boys with spe­cial men­tion to Greene, who kicked six in the slip­pery and windy con­di­tions.

The Blues sec­ond win in as many rounds now sets up in­trigu­ing con­test against an­other un­beaten club in Trafal­gar.

That clash to be played at Thor­p­dale next Sun­day af­ter­noon. Yin­nar v Mor­well East Yin­nar showed their first-round win over reign­ing pre­miers Mir­boo North was only the start of an­other promis­ing sea­son, fol­low­ing it up with a com­fort­able 26-point vic­tory at home against Mor­well East, 7-10 (52) to 3-8 (26). v

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