Saints stay on winning path

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It was business as usual for the Millicent Saints as they continued marching down the winning path by accounting for East Gambier at McLaughlin Park on Saturday.

The 10th round of the 2022 Bendigo Bank Western Border Football League season marked the conclusion of the second set of head-to-head matchups, but the first since the June long weekend bye.

With no interleague commitments the senior stars both teams were ready to be unleashed and the Saints and Bulldogs matchup appeared to follow a familiar script.

Much like in their round 5 contest, East brought the heat early, looking to throw the favoured Millicent off its game.

With experienced heads such as Jayden Eldridge, Nick Walters and John Forster giving it their all, the dogs showed some aggression to register more scoring shots than the hosts in the first term.

However, the visitors struggled to make them count and conceded a nine-point lead to Millicent which coach Clint Gallio believed his team had to work extremely hard for.

“It was a tough slog at the start because they are a quality side when their good players are running around,” he said.

“We had plenty of the footy, but when they got forward they looked dangerous.

“So our defenders were under the pump a bit, but they held up and put a little bit of pressure on to make them kick some points.

“It was a bit of an arm wrestle and a highly contested first quarter and we were lucky enough to capitalise on some good scoring options.”

The Bulldogs had no choice, but to regret their inaccuracy in the first term as the Saints marched away after quarter time.

The second term was all one-way traffic as Millicent kicked three unanswered goals with Dylan Bromley and Hamish Nitschke teaming up inside 50.

The hosts were able to move the ball freely and the backbone behind the charge were some fresh and energetic legs.

Young, but established stars Sam Willis, Frazer Bradley and Eli Redman ran the Bulldogs ragged across the key moments of the game to sure up the result.

The Saints hit top gear in the third term, moving the ball fluently and kicking five majors with ease.

“Once we got our speed game going, we moved the footy a lot better,” Gallio said.

“We were able to hit the ball on the outside with our skill and speed which broke the game open.”

At the final change the difference on the scoreboard was greater than 50 points and the Saints faithful would have hoped for it to rise.

However, Millicent did not run out the game completely and could only muster a solitary behind for the entire fourth term.

East’s intensity had returned and the Saints struggled to man up and allowed the visitors to kick a couple of consolation goals on a day when all four Lock siblings – Nick, Sarah, Sam and Shaun – represented the red and black in the top grade.

Despite the slow finish, Millicent got the job done and enters the blockbuster battle against South Gambier with momentum.

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