Blighty’s chances of a top spot finish in the Picola League have taken a big blow, following a 15 point loss to an in-form Strathmerton side on Saturday.
The visiting Bulldogs kept the Redeyes goalless in the first term, with inaccuracy in front of goal their only issue as they led by 33 points at half-time at Blighty Recreation Reserve.
Blighty replied in the third term with Jed Brain leading the host’s fightback with four second-half goals, including an impressive set shot from the boundary line.
The Redeyes worked their way back within seven points of the Dogs at the mid-way point of the last term.
But it was Strathmerton who settled, with a momentum sapping goal late to hold off Blighty’s comeback.
It was the third placed Bulldogs’ eighth straight win drawing them level with the Redeyes, who sit second, with both sides on 36 premiership points.
Mikal Bloom and Tyron Hill kicked half of the Bulldogs’ 10 goals on Saturday, while Salvatore Grillo, Adrian Crestani, Tristan Lee Madgwick, Daniel Ellis and Max Canfield all chipped in with one major.
Lenny Clarke was the Redeyes’ best performer after being moved into the midfield while Tom Draffin, Matt O’Connor and Sam Singleton all played well.
Final score, Strathmerton 10.17 (77) to Blighty 9.8 (62).
It was a strong start from Strathmerton, having cleaner use of the ball and winning the battle in the middle, leading to Blighty’s second loss of the year.
Redeyes assistant coach Jack Tyndall said his charges were flat from the opening bounce.
‘‘We were lucky that they (Strathmerton) missed a fair few shots,’’ he said.
‘‘We didn’t deserve to win with the way we were playing early and we addressed that after the game.
‘‘It was pretty even in the first quarter but we had too many shots at goal either going out on the full or dropping short.
‘‘Our kicking into our forwards wasn’t too flash either, which allowed Strathmerton to rebound and set up their own scoring shots.
‘‘Strathy are clearly a handy side and will be tough to beat in finals. It was our first game of the year where we were beaten around all areas of the ground.’’
Despite the poor start to the game, Tyndall said there were still plenty of positives to come out of the match.
‘‘The game turned when we moved Lenny (Clarke) into the middle,’’ he said
‘‘Tristan Wilson was impressive on the back flank but our defence was a little bit off without Brayden Hall down back.’’
Strathmerton were also triumphant in the reserves, downing Blighty by 25 points.
After a slow start, the Redeyes fought back in the second quarter to peg the margin back to 11 points at half time.
The Dogs took control in the third though, kicking four unanswered goals for the term before holding off Blighty in the last.
Final score, Strathmerton 10.3 (63) to Blighty 6.2 (38).
Jamie Shields was ruled as Blighty’s best with Bret Leech, moved deep in defence this week, also earning the coach’s praise.
Ben Littmann had a strong game in the middle and up forward with three goals, while Matt Barker was solid in defence and the ruck. Daniel Smits ran hard through the middle and surprise inclusion Darcy Pogue gave plenty of drive along the wing.