Undermanned South knocks off West Gambier outfit

Even after missing two key position players and a coach, South Gambier wrapped up another victory over West Gambier in the penultimate round of the 2022 Bendigo Bank Western Border Football League season.

The Demons had to wave goodbye to coach Brayden Kain and youngster Todd Reid – who occupy key positions in the forward line and backline respectively – on Saturday as SA Country duty called.

However, this was no cause for concern for the ladder leaders as their astonishing amount of depth stepped up.

South won an important toss and with the wind behind its back, flew to an overwhelming lead by quarter time.

Playing in his first game in a month the class of Brett O’Neill was evident straight after returning to the 18, while Mason Hein showed some maturity in the ruck.

Despite the absence of their coach who has kicked 29 goals in the last five games, a couple of youngsters filled the void to ensure the Demons could continue to score with ease.

The combination of Colby Munro and Mitchell Sims proved too fast for the Roos’ defenders as they ran rings and relegated the usually prolific Brodie Foster to a support act.

These consistently firing guns pushed South to a five-goal lead before the first break.

West led by the composure of leadership duo Lawry Bradley-Brown and Daron McElroy were able to make some inroads and brought the margin to down to around two goals at times.

But the Demons still had enough resources to make impacts on the scoreboard when mother nature was against them which had a massive say on the result.

A couple of majors moments before the main break reconsolidated South’s advantage to 17 points, which was enough to relaunch the assault.

Munro continued his day out, increasing his total to the five-goal milestone, while the likes of Emerson Marks, Patrick Glynn and Brock Keding also made big impacts in their respective positions around the ground to shut West down.

The Demons entered the final break with a comfortable 40-point advantage, which always seemed a bridge too far for the visitors relying on the efforts of Bradley-Brown, Tom Nieuwerkerk and Kyle Giddings.

But with a strong South defence shutting them down, the Roos struggled to land a blow with the wind in the final term.

An 84-52 win was reflective of how nicely the Demons are currently cruising which meant stand-in coach Duncan McGregor was never too concerned about stepping into Kain’s shoes.

“The win is a testament to the club’s depth and success of its junior programme to cover players the calibre of Reid and Kain,” he said.

“It was not too daunting because I have coached seniors before and there was a strong wind favouring one end, hence our strong start.

“A big difference in the game was the opportunities we created leading to goals against the wind.

“It was a solid group effort but Colby was a stand-out with his speed and elusiveness up forward and our captain was all class.”

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