Tyler Curtis celebrates after kicking a mammoth goal from the centre square!
“Stories and photos courtesy of Sunraysia Daily”
SOUTH MILDURA HAVE PLENTY TO LOOK FORWARD TO: There has been a fair bit of hype about South Mildura over the summer, though there were still a few question marks after a disappointing performance against Mildura in the pre-season competition. But they earned a lot of respect after Saturday’s effort. They ran out of legs, but for three quarters looked the better side and moved the ball well.
CONTROLLING a football match for three quarters doesn’t win you the game, as South Mildura found out in the opening round of the Sunraysia Football Netball League against Imperials at Sarah Oval on Saturday.
In front of a large crowd, the Bulldogs held a 21-point lead at three-quarter time and looked to be in control.
But Imperials stormed home with an eight-goal final term for a 29-point victory.
The turning point for Imps came when veteran Brad Hards was moved back into the middle of the ground and Luke Hickey went into the ruck. The pair took charge, with Hards running rampant. He consistently won the ball out of the middle and set up his forwards, who didn’t let him down, booting eight straight goals while South went goalless, having run out of legs.
It was Imperials’ superior fitness that proved the difference.
The green and white machine have had a big pre-season and their hard work paid off with them running out the game much better than their opponents.
Early, the Dogs looked sharp and moved the ball well, particularly out of defence, with Dom Scullino and recruit Marty Corrie creating plenty of drive and run.
Tyler Curtis was dangerous up forward, booting four goals, but was starved of opportunities in the last quarter.
Adam Luitjes was the dominant big man on the ground in the first half, but like many of his teammates faded.
Imperials recruit Dave Hankin showed he is going to be a valuable asset with a fivegoal haul.
Hankin was one of the few Imps players who was able to contribute for four quarters.
The classy small forward moved well and was a constant target for his teammates in attack.
Luke Sicker was solid in his first hit-out since returning from Queensland and will be better for the run.
Adding to South’s wows is a suspected hamstring injury to coach John Pratt.
Pratt was sidelined for several weeks during the pre-season after straining his hamstring during training, but was confident he had fully recovered going into Saturday’s match.
He will have the injury assessed this week before making a decision on his availability for the Dogs’ round 2 match against Irymple this Friday. But with a short turnaround he may miss what will be a crucial game for the Dogs against last year’s runners-up.
Senior football score
NETBALL – ‘Premiers supreme’
SOUTH Mildura’s premiership defence got off to a magnificent start with an emphatic 11 goal victory over a valiant Imperials outfit.
The Bulldogs looked flat early, surrendering a five-goal lead to Imps.
South looked to have unearthed an attacking duo in Kendall McLean and Demi Toms, who showed their shooting skills from all points of the circle.
McLean was threatening all day, scoring 28 goals, but Toms wasn’t playing second fiddle, chiming in with an impressive tally of 31 goals.
The pairing turned out to be just a little too classy for the Imps defenders, who fought bravely all day.
At the other end of the court it was Meg McManus who was the standout goal scorer for Imperials with 26 goals.
Midway through the contest a scary moment occurred when Toms collided with Imperials defender Kalo Moimoi and Toms nearly ran into the goalpost, such was the endeavour of the two rivals.
Thankfully no one was hurt and both girls continued to play at nothing short of 100 per cent.
South’s dominant second half stamped their authority on the competition and they showed they are more than capable of winning back-to-back premierships.
Three of the best players overall were McLean who dominated all day causing all sorts of problems for the Imps defenders.
Rhianna Toms, an important linking player through the middle of the court, as well as a dangerous play-maker, was good all day
Meg McManus, even in a losing effort, McManus put in a good performance on a tough day.
South’s Jiah Robinson outleaps his Imperials opponent at Sarah Oval.
IMPERIALS showed they will again be a flag contender in the under 18s with an 11-point win over South Mildura at Sarah Oval on Saturday.
Imps led all day and, despite a late charge by the home side in the final quarter, never really looked troubled, running out winners 8.13 (61) to 7.8 (50).
Ben Rogers was best for the winners with a solid game, while Bailey Beattie and Will Rogers were handy contributors.
For the Bulldogs Thomas Fiorillo chipped in with three goals, while better players for the home side were Nicholas Arnold, Charles Etrich and Colby Scheele.