Sandy Moves to Third
In blustery conditions at Trevor Barker Beach Oval on Sunday, Sandringham withstood an early last-quarter surge by Bendigo Gold, to runaway 38-point winners and move up to third on the ladder as Troy Hallam reports.
Over the last month it has been Sandringham who were the one’s playing catch-up football in the final quarter, but an attacking first-half of strong contested football coupled with hard running earned them a comfortable lead for most of the game, with Bendigo only out-scoring them in the third quarter.
Sandringham dominated the centre breaks and inside-50s during the first quarter, on the back of a commanding performance by Michael Sikora, who finished with 47 hit-outs, although it was Bendigo’s Steve Stroobants who kicked the first major for the day, slotting one from 20m out.
The Zebra’s replied quickly when Cripps found space through the midfield, and then Jackson Coleman was able to kick his first, after missed opportunities by Cockie and Wilkes.
Bendigo rallied towards the end of the first quarter, with Henry Slattery providing plenty of run off their defensive 50, and captain Ben Duscher gained more contested footy, but when the siren sounded they were only able to manage the single goal and found themselves 22-points down at quarter time.
Bendigo coach Hayden Skipworth was unhappy with the amount of turnovers in their defensive 50 from kick-ins, after three landed in the hands of Zebra’s players.
“Take care, I said take some risks, but if [the player’s] not on, don’t just give it to them.
“It’s too many in a quarter.
“Still look to take the game on though.”
Bendigo were beginning to play the game at their own pace in the second quarter, with Elliot Kavanagh finding space, and Mark McVeigh beginning to get more of the ball. But it wasn’t enough to suppress Sandringham’s attack as they kicked seven goals straight for the quarter, including a courageous, Riewoldt-esque mark from Myke Cook going back with the flight of the ball.
Bendigo rallied again with goals to Dell’olio, Ladson and Little, but at half time the deficit was 35 points.
They continued to press the Zebra’s in the third quarter, with Stroobants goaling in the first 2 minutes after a great speccy, and then Justin Maddern was able to capitalise on a Gwilt turnover. Sandringham looked to steady after Archer snapped one from the pocket, but Bendigo had the quick reply courtesy of Matthew Little.
Ariel Steinberg was good at the bottom of the packs, feeding the ball out to Bendigo’s midfielders, forcing Sandringham to play reactive football. There was great defensive pressure, with the ball in Bendigo’s forward 50 for most of the quarter, but they were unable to capitalise on their scoring opportunities kicking four goals three behinds.
Sandringham made the most of their chances at the end of the third, with Ledger kicking a monster goal from inside the centre square that somehow managed to roll through, and the Wilkes provided a quick centre break, getting the ball to Cripps who kicked his third with minutes left in the quarter.
Sandringham coach Simon McPhee summed up their performance at the third-quarter break.
“Through the middle of the ground, we just need to get our hands on it.
“They had 25 more possessions than us in the that quarter, and 10 more inside 50s.
“We lost our composure a bit for a while.
“Just crack in and get your hands on it.”
Bendigo moved all their experience to the centre in the last quarter, with McVeigh, Ladson and Slattery all starting around the ball, with the effect gaining results immediately, but again they were unable to take advantage in their forward line, until Maddern and Duscher goaled within minutes of each other. Bendigo began to take the game on, moving the ball quicker, and Maddern had his fourth major, 10 minutes into the last.
Farren Ray continued to dominate around the ground for Sandringham, creating space, and kicking effectively with it. He, as well as Ross, Ledger, Curren and Cook were able to rally against Bendigo’s run, feeding the ball to Wilkes who finally kicked his first for the day. Bendigo was run off their feet in the last five minutes with Cook and Markworth kicking the final two for the match.
Final scores Sandringham 19.10-124 defeated Bendigo 12.14-86.