MERRIGUM’S clash with Undera started with a celebration for club legend Dave Matthews, who was playing his 200th senior game for the club.
Matthews, who has played his entire career for Merrigum, brought up the milestone after starting with the Dogs way back in 2000.
Matthews has been a captain of the club, a senior premiership player and also an interleague midfielder along the way.
However the game ended in unfortunate fashion, as serious injuries to Merrigum players Mitch Younger and Ty Parsons forced the umpires to call the game just after half time.
The Dogs were chasing all day, falling behind by 11-points at the first break.
Most of the damage was done in the second quarter, however, as Undera went to another level.
Merrigum’s defence wilted under the pressure from Undera, as the Lions kicked six second-term goals to two — opening up a 35-point lead.
The game was then cut short due to the two injuries. Undera will still get the premiership points though, as the incidents happened after half time.
The loss leaves Merrigum with a 5-4 record, after winning its first five games of the season.
Next weekend’s clash with Nagambie is crucial for the Dogs if they are to stay in touch with the finals contenders.
UNDERA was too strong for the Merrigum girls, defeated on their home turf, 17-47.
The girls struggled to get the ball out of the centre court and couldn’t convert any opportunities
“We made changes at half time, we put Holly Maddock and Jaymee Frampton into goals and Allana Adams into attack for some drive,” coach Louise Richards said.
“It gave us a chance to get the ball into the goal circle but unfortunately it’s our accuracy which is letting us down.”
Breanna Baker, who came up from Under 17s for the round eight clash was again in the senior team, in defence for the full term and earning herself best on.
Baker kept Undera at bay and gave opportunities to get the ball down to the goal end and coach Louise Richards got second best for her work in defence.
But Richards said there’s work to be done.
“We started the season strong and we have the ability to push into finals but we’ve lost our mojo,” Richards said
This week against Nagambie, Richards isn’t expecting to come away with a win but hopes to minimise the impact of the juggernaut.
They’ll also be without Ebony Halliwell and Allanah Scopelliti which will be two hard spots to fill.
At this stage Merrigum will be keeping Bree Baker up and the A graders will be looking to their younger ranks for some talent, possibly in Jorja Tranter or Maddy Wilson to perform in centre or attack.
Richards said Tranter, who made an appearance earlier in this season in the senior ranks, is a strong and level-headed player who would be a good fit for the senior side.
GIRGARRE will be thinking what could’ve been after it let a half time lead slip against Lancaster on Saturday. The Roos were fast starters, booting six goals straight in the first term to open up a 16-point lead.
Usual suspects Jake Hyland, Michael Marrett and Ashley Hughes were controlling the game for the Roos early.
The second quarter saw both sides boot four goals in a tight term. But it was also the start of Lancaster’s push back into the game.
The margin was 16 points again at half time, setting up a crucially important third quarter.
Corey Carver’s men sensed just how important it was — and ramped it up a level.
The Roos couldn’t go with them, as Lancaster began to take over the game.
Girgarre kicked three goals in the third term, but let in five from the Wombats to cut the margin back to just one at the final break.
The Roos fell away in the final quarter, held goalless by a rampant Lancaster outfit to finish with a 17-point loss.
Hughes finished as his side’s best player, while Gregory Potter and Damian Dalziel also impressed.
The result sees the Roos sitting fourth on the ladder — they face Dookie next week.
GIRGARRE could have just secured the win that sets up its season.
The Kangaroos defeated Lancaster 39-29, with the success ensuring its hopes of playing finals remain a possibility.
The win put Girgarre just four points outside the six while also creating some breathing space between it and the Wombats.
‘Roos coach Chloe Kavanagh said her side started to make its run in the second half.
‘‘It was definitely a really challenging game, they stuck with us until half-time and then we made a change in defence and managed to come away with the win in a really competitive and fair game,’’ she said.
The switch of Dani Jones in recent games from goals into defence has paid dividends for the side, with Jac Gahan instrumental in the attacking circle.
Kavanagh hoped the win would spark her side onto bigger things.
‘‘It was huge, we knew that this was an important point in our season and so to step up and get a win was good,’’ she said.
‘‘Hopefully we can continue on, we’ve got some challenging games in the next few weeks, but hopefully we can build on last week and keep going.’’
STANHOPE put a hapless Longwood to the sword on Saturday — to the tune of 143 points.
Big-name recruit Rohan Baldock played for the first time since his 21-goal haul against Ardmona, and cashed in again, booting seven goals.
The Lions were clinical from the first bounce, holding Longwood goalless up until half time.
By that stage, the Lions had already kicked 10.14 and opened up a 74-point lead at the main break.
The damage continued in the second half, as the Lions piled on another 13 goals to stamp their dominance.
The win gives the Lions an 8-1 record, with an incredible percentage of 378.10 to match.
Tom Hepburn was good again for the Lions, backing up a solid performance last week.
Daniel Flynn, Lucas White, Jorge Maxwell, Hepburn and James Fraser all kicked two majors and joined Baldock as the multiple goal kickers.
THE A graders made their trip to Longwood count last weekend, obliterating them, 94-41.
The girls had an easy day for their long weekend match up but coach Kerrie Gray has identified some room for improvement.
“We’re pretty happy with last week, we’re always on a push to be our best and so there’s always something we can be improving on,” Gray said.
Chicky Barr had a busy day in goals and got best on, Molly Breen and Jam Young provided good connections through the midcourt.
“It’s was a massive game — to be shooting a collective 135 goals in 60 minutes is a good effort,” Gray said.
“We were in a position where we were able to convert quickly — if we had possession we got a run on.
“But Longwood’s accuracy was outstanding, when they went for goals it was guaranteed they’d get it.”
Gray said the focus for upcoming games will be to work on restricting the opposition.
“We know we have to keep working because not every week is going to be like the last, we need to continue to work on our defence pressure,” she said.
This week Stanhope hosts Rushworth and it’s highly likely they’ll come away with a win.
“We have a friendly rivalry with Rushy and I expect it’ll be a good little battle, they have some quality players coming through their younger ranks, it should be a good game,” Gray said.
A BARNSTORMING second half from Lancaster saw it storm home to a 17-point win over fellow contenders Girgarre on Saturday.
The game was dominated by a surprise seven-goal haul from Wombat Liam Nedeljkovich.
Nedeljkovich hasn’t kicked a major since he booted two way back in round one, but he was feeling it this week.
Lancaster started slow, dropping behind by 16 points at quarter-time after some trusty kicking from Girgarre saw the Roos boot six straight in the first term.
The Wombats — led by Nedeljkovich, Zac Cerrone and Drew Barrett — started to work their way back into the game in the second quarter.
The Roos however, held strong, and answered all of the Wombats punches with a blow of their own.
The result of a seesawing term was a 16-point Girgarre lead at the main break.
Lancaster’s run home began in the third term, as it kicked five goals to three to cut the margin back to just a single point at three-quarter-time.
The Wombats dominance continued into the final term, as they rode the wave of momentum to kick three goals to zero in the last and run away with the win.
Michael Hill, Zac Cerrone and Sam Spedding all kicked two goals for Lancaster, while Joshua Berry continued his hot form.
THE pressure of last weekend’s must-win game against Girgarre got to the A grade side, going down 29-39.
Lancaster has now set their sights on season 2019 as the loss means their hopes of finals were shattered.
Co-coach Bec Monk spent the weekend in hospital, however she was still coaching remotely.
“Our team was rattled, I went into hospital on Friday night and the phone call to Laura on Saturday morning was a tough one,” Monk said.
“I spoke to the girls at three quarter time and made some changes but it was too late, we’d done our dash for finals by missing opportunities.”
Zoe Hayes and Soph Davies put in stellar performances on court but it wasn’t enough to stop Girgarre.
Zoe Backway was in the coach’s favour, moving from attack to defence and putting in a determined game.
But, for the girls it’s about focusing longer-term on season 2019, working out any kinks in their plays.
Rhe Collyer has been winding down over the past weeks as she’s pregnant and so last weekend was most likely her last game.
“With the changes and injuries we missed those games we needed to win to be in with a chance and so we’re looking at improving our structures we have going now,” Monk said.