Koo Wee Rup had to dig deep to find a way past a tenacious Nar Nar Goon outfit in round three of the Alex Scott and Staff West Gippsland Football Netball Competition.
After honouring the Anzacs pre-game with the traditional Ode, Last Post and minute’s silence, the two sides engaged in an engrossing night-time tussle that eventually went the Demons’ way.
Trailing at every change, Koo Wee Rup held the visiting Goon goalless in the final term to secure four hard-fought points, 10.9 (69) to 8.9 (57).
Bailey Galante, Troy Dolan and Scott Houghton starred for the Demons, while Trent Noy, Jesse Cribbes and Tyler Payroli performed strongly for Nar Nar Goon.
Five goals from Kilcunda Bass forward Jason Wells proved the difference as the Panthers secured a nail biting five-point win against Phillip Island.
The goal-kicking machine’s first handful of the year helped the home side break their season duck with an 8.13 (61) to 8.8 (56) victory.
Co-coach Brent Macaffer, ruckman Ben Law and Danny Wells were also prominent as the Panthers held firm having led at every change, though never by more than the final margin.
Jaymie Youle, Jack Keating and Mark Griffin were the Bulldogs’ best.
The win will have been a relief for Macaffer and his co-coach Ben Vague, whose side had opened the season with narrow defeats to Koo Wee Rup and Dalyston, while Phillip Island are in a similar position from games against the same opponents.
The aptly named Jai Rout fittingly led the charge as Cora Lynn recorded a comprehensive win against Garfield.
The young gun – fresh from a productive season at Gippsland Power and a VFL development league debut with Casey Demons – finished the day with seven goals in a best-on-ground performance.
The home side had been in good form in the first two rounds of competition but was torn apart in the opening and final quarters, with a rampant Cobras outfit piling on 13 goals to none in that time.
The Stars were competitive in between, with Daniel Johnson (four goals), Ned Marsh and Jonathan Sauze the standouts, while Nathan Gillis and Justin Markulija were other notable performers for Cora Lynn.
The battle of the beaten grand finalists fizzled as last year’s Alberton Football Netball League runners up Inverloch-Kongwak continued on its merry way with a 145-point demolition of its Ellinbank and District Football League counterpart, Bunyip.
The Sea Eagles ran riot with 22 goals from 40 scoring shots, while giving up just five behinds for the day.
Toby Mahoney led the charge with four goals and was one of eight multiple goal-kickers for the home side for which Corey Casey, Xavier Hughes and Tom Hams did plenty of damage.
Lachlan Petch, Brad Wolfe and Shane Smith fought hard for the Bulldogs.
Dalyston maintained its perfect start to the season, courtesy of a 72-point win against Korumburra-Bena.
Michael Marotta produced arguably his best senior performance with five goals, while fellow young gun Kyle Kirk joined Kristian Butler and Dean Wylie in the Magpies’ best.
Despite the heavy defeat, it was an improved showing from the Giants, who registered their highest score and most scoring shots for the season, with Jake McMillan and Cam Trewin among the best.
Round four is headlined by the Sunday blockbuster between Cora Lynn and Koo Wee Rup.
There is no love lost between the pair, with some off-season personnel movement only adding to the on-field rivalry.
Elsewhere, Kilcunda Bass and Garfield looks an intriguing contest, Nar Nar Goon travels to competition pacesetter Inverloch-Kongwak after the Goon’s ground became unavailable, Phillip Island takes on Korumburra Bena and Bunyip faces the tough task of hosting undefeated Dalyston.
Image courtesy of Pakenham Gazette