SOUTH Mildura’s fitness again proved telling as they produced a five goal to one last term to run over the top of Robinvale Euston and grab their second consecutive win of the SFNL season.
After a second half blitz over Red Cliffs the previous week, the Bulldogs again had the legs late after Robinvale had drawn within three points at the last change.
The eventual 28-point win followed a rigorous back-and-forth contest where the visiting Eagles, who were again crippled by injuries, refused to go away at Sarah Oval.
The Bulldogs looked in control early and shot out to an early lead, before a focused Andrew Richardson and some cool kicking from Liua Polata brought the visitors within six points late in the first quarter.
It became a pattern for the day, with South seemingly in control for large patches, only for Robinvale to keep on coming at them.
Key recruit Matthew Min made his presence known once again as he kicked the Bulldogs toward their first telling lead in the second term on his way to three majors for the day, while Matthew Spencely also capitalised on an Eagles’ high tackle with a goal of his own.
But South let Robinvale back in with some costly turnovers, and the margin at the main break was just seven points.
The Bulldogs signature defence was on full display once more with notable work from Taj Stevens, Haydn Kiel and Ben Dalton across half-back and the wings.
The Eagles produced some highlights of their own, with great ball work between Michael Zappia and Justin Neyland, while Dante Brigante was dangerous up forward and kicked three for the day.
But the dam wall eventually broke open in the last term, as the Bulldogs surged away in front of their home fans to record a well-deserved win and lift their win-loss record for the season to 2-1.
It sets up a big clash against neighbouring Mildura at Brian Weightman Oval next Saturday, while it doesn’t get any easier for the injury-riddled Robinvale Euston, who take on the unbeaten Imperials at Euston.
A BETTER VERSION TO COME: Despite the Bulldogs early success this season, there appears to still be plenty room for improvement. Reflecting on the match, coach Dalton remained critical of their performance over Robinvale Euston. “A couple of our skill errors cost us a turnover at bad times, we probably kept them in the game until about half-time or so where really could’ve had some scoreboard pressure on at that point.”
EARLY SIGNS OF SUCCESS: Round 3 marked two consecutive wins for South Mildura, which the club hadn’t seen in some time. Bulldogs’ playing coach Ben Dalton was quick to state the significance of this week’s win. “It’s the first time since 2015 or 2016 we’ve had two in a row and 2-1 to start the year. So it’s really positive for the club. We had another great week where we had contributors across the whole field, which is great to see we’re starting to put forward full quarters together group.”
SOUTH MILDURA 11.10 (76) d ROBINVALE EUSTON 7.6 (48)
GOALS: South Mildura: M. Min 3, H. Kiel 2, C. Sellens 2, A. Gauci, T. Dowell, D. Loveridge, R. Fitzgerald. Robinvale Euston: D. Brigante 3, L. Polata 2, A. Richardson, J. Mezzatesta.
BEST: South Mildura: J. McEwen, H. Kiel, B. Dalton, T. Curtis, D. Loveridge, J. Cogan. Robinvale Euston: C. Mannix, A. Richardson, P. Kuma, F. Chirchiglia, L. Polata, J. Neyland.
Story and photos courtesy of Sunraysia Daily