For the first time in more than a month, East Gambier returned to the winner’s circle after a formidable team effort produced a 50-point win over West Gambier at McDonald Park on Saturday.
Over a break elongated by the COVID enforced pause, the Bulldogs had not won since the end of May, but they finished that spell by controlling their round 11 home game.
The Roos loomed as a tricky opponent after the rivals had spilt the previous two competitive games earlier this year.
However, the visitors were overwhelmed by East’s clinical effort and co-coach Jayden Eldridge said it was down to the commitment showed on the training track.
“We have been working on a lot of things, trying our best to create a good culture and play consistent football,” he said.
“Last week we kicked 15 goals against Millicent and it was not enough, but we did it again and everyone was on the same page this time.
“Everything just clicked, we were all working for each other, doing the little things and hitting short targets, so it was good to get away with the win this time.” The triumph was not as simple as it looked, with the Bulldogs suffering an early setback due to the unavailability of key-forward Mark Rumbelow, who pulled up sore from the previous game, while West kicked the opening goal.
But East responded resoundingly with a flurry of goals to take control of the game and enjoy a 26-point lead at quarter time.
The hole left by Rumbelow was filled by Todd Lockwood and Shaun Lock, who stepped up to lead the scoring frenzy.
To maximize Lockwood’s ability to win marking contests and kick on both feet, he was positioned in the goal square which worked wonders as he kicked four majors.
Lock continued his strong 2021 campaign and presented himself well around the ground at centre half forward to also kick a quartet of goals.
The battle in the midfield was always going to be one to watch with the likes of Matt Willson and Jake Harrap for the Bulldogs against the Roos’ Lawry Bradley-Brown and Tom Holmes.
Despite Bradley-Brown once again standing out for his team, the East pair won the arm wrestle moving the ball cleanly to generate plenty of forward entries.
Willson also showed off his ability to press forward and keep the goal umpire busy as the Bulldogs progressively increased the margin each quarter to keep West at arm’s length.
The win leaves East just a game behind North Gambier and Millicent on the ladder, while the Roos’ finals push has started to fade as they trail by four points.
The Bulldogs hope to maintain their perfect record against their fierce rivals the Tigers away from home, while West faces another tough task against South Gambier.