A tragic incident that led to the abandonment of games between Koo Wee Rup and Dalyston has overshadowed round five of the Alex Scott and Staff West Gippsland Football Netball Competition.
Brothers Campbell and Lucas Ion from the Dalyston Football Netball Club were driving to Koo Wee Rup Recreation Reserve, when they were involved in a collision which claimed the life of Campbell, 15, and left Lucas, 18, in a critical condition.
The under-18, reserves and seniors football matches were cancelled following confirmation of the morning’s events.
See the Pakenham Gazette’s coverage of the incident for more information.
Elsewhere, Cora Lynn won the battle of two undefeated powerhouses, with a 13-point win against Inverloch Kongwak.
The Cobras started brightly, making the most of the strong breeze blowing towards the northern end of the ground to register the first four goals of the game.
Inverloch Kongwak responded well, with the only three goals of the second term, including a composed set shot from Brendan Iezzi after the half-time siren to lead by one point at the main change.
A heavy downpour during the break ensured it was wet start to the second half, but all but eliminated the wind factor and that was reflected on the scoreboard, as the two sides combined for seven goals – one fewer than they had managed to half-time.
Goals to Cam Beattie-Powell, Sam Gibbins and Toby Mahoney at the non-scoring end kept the visitors in touch, but it was Cora Lynn came out firing after three-quarter time.
Cobras co-captain Jackson Dalton stormed away from the centre bounce and found Troy Tharle on the lead for the all-important first of the term, before Dalton and Heath Briggs each hit the post to waste golden opportunities to push the margin out of Inverloch Kongwak’s reach.
Sure enough, the Sea Eagles rallied, with Beattie-Powell kicking his second against the run of the play to cut the gap back to 13 points at the midway point of the final term.
However, while Gardiner and Beattie-Powell traded goals late on, Cora Lynn closed the game out to win 10.12 (72) to 9.5 (59).
Defender Mitch Wallace was named the home side’s best for his outstanding performance on Sea Eagles tall Sam Gibbins, holding the key forward to one goal and limited impact on the contest.
Chris Johnson continued his stellar season at the heart of the Cobras’ midfield, while Heath Briggs also impressed throughout.
Lewis Rankin, Tristan van Driel and Callum Cusack were best for the Sea Eagles, who were once again without midfield leader Andy Soumilas.
The loss was Inverloch Kongwak’s first of the campaign, while Cora Lynn’s sixth win from as many games leaves it in top spot on the ladder, one game clear of reigning premier Phillip Island, which has a game in hand.
The Bulldogs maintained their own perfect record, with a routine 76-point win against Warragul Industrials at Western Park.
After a wasteful first half in which they managed three goals from 15 scoring shots, the defending champions found their feet, led by last year’s competition best and fairest Brendan Kimber, who returned from a two-game absence to boot three goals in a best-on-ground performance.
Jaymie Youle and Zak Vernon were also among the best in the 11.23 (89) to 2.1 (13) victory.
Shane Ingham, Michael Ablett and Dylan Smith battled hard for the home side.
Garfield recorded one of the surprises of the season when it upset Nar Nar Goon.
Accuracy was key for the Stars, who kicked nine goals from 10 scoring shots to three-quarter time, while the Goon only managed four from nine to trail by 21 points at the final change.
The home side ran away with it in the last to win 13.5 (83) to 7.5 (47).
Tanner Stanton, Michael Wallace (three goals) and Leigh Diston were magnificent for the Stars, while Jake Blackwood, Toby Sherer, Matt Stevens (four goals) were the standouts for The Goon.
The result moved Garfield within percentage of Nar Nar Goon, which dropped to sixth and will be without star utility Lachlan Hansen for another week, after the ex-AFL player was handed a two-match suspension for striking at the WGFNC tribunal prior to round five.
The Goon’s spot in the top five was snaffled by Bunyip, which produced its most complete performance of the season to beat Kilcunda Bass by 82 points.
Bulldogs’ favourite son Ben Ross made his mark with six goals in his most impressive outing since returning to his boyhood club, with Cleyton Bertoncello and Ricky Clark among the others to catch the eye, the latter in his first game since round one.
Towering centre half-back Taylor Gibson, Hayden Spierings and young gun Jack Rosenow fought the good fight the Panthers in the 16.12 (108) to 3.8 (26) defeat.
Finally, Tooradin Dalmore continued its strong form by downing Korumburra Bena to register a fifth straight win and solidify its place inside the top five.
Andrew Dean booted eight goals to take his season tally to 27 – one behind Cora Lynn’s Nathan Gardiner at the top of the competition’s the goal-kicking charts – in the 14.7 (91) to 2.9 (21) win at Korumburra Showgrounds.
Brad Lenders and Waide Symes were also prominent for the Seagulls, while Mitch Nicholas, Rhys Dixon and Zach Walker performed admirably for the Giants.