South Gambier went two from two after it held off a late surge from West Gambier at Blue Lake Sports Park in an entertaining round 2 Bendigo Bank Western Border Football League fixture.
In a game played in two halves and wet conditions the Demons took the honours by 28 points to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. From the outset South appeared up for the fight and adapted its fast-moving game to the slippery surroundings.
The Demons’ dominance was clear for all to see with five scoring shots to just one in the first term and the margin grew even further before main break. The hosts entered the dressing rooms with their heads held high leading by 38 points.
Thanks to the hard work by Brett O’Neil and Jack Casey in the middle of the ground, Brayden Kain said he could not be happier with the first half, while the Roos were yet to kick a major. “We were more dominant in the first half and the scoreboard certainly reflected that,” he said.
“Everything was going our way and the work rate was up with the boys putting their heads over the ball getting to the footy first.”
However, the game was turned upside down when the players returned to the field and visitors were suddenly a force to be reckoned with. West found its best and reeled in the deficit as Garret Ha and Todd Lewis converted the scoring chances created from the likes of Kyle Giddings, Aden Pfitzner and Brayden Olds.
Kain said his heart rate escalated as the Roos closed in during the grandstand finish. “At the start of the third term West came out all guns blazing,” he said. “Their top six players stood up and wrestled some momentum back which caught us off guard. “I think early in the last quarter it was down to seven or eight points, so they certainly had us on the back foot and was a little worried.”
But unlike in the previous South had “something left in the tank” to outrun the rampant Roos. A key part of the Demons’ win was Brodie Foster, who returned to form with six crucial goals. Foster presented himself perfectly with strong leads and Kain was impressed with how his chief forward responded from a tough opening round.
“Brodie was a little annoyed at himself for not getting on the goal scorer’s list last week and was very determined to turn it all around,” he said. “A couple of our forwards including myself pushed up the ground which opened the door for Brodie to put his hand up and he certainly made the most of his opportunities with a match-winning performance.”
Kain also could not speak highly enough of O’Neil’s effort around the ground which was the driving force behind the triumph. “His first half was exceptional working into our back six nullifying West’s forward entries,” he said. “Then when the game got a bit tighter towards the end, Brett stepped up and played like the elite man he always is, so when the game was there to be won he slowed things down and got the ball back on our terms.
“Our winning finish was off the back of his hard work and determination in the midfield.”