G-Train delivers after-the-siren win for Hawks
By Richard Jones
BACK in late May six seasons back Matt Gretgrix booted an after-the-siren behind to hand Eaglehawk their first win over Golden Square in five years.
The scores were locked at 89 points apiece in the dying seconds of 2013’s Round 7 game at MyJet Oval.
Enter first gamer Jacob Murley. He sent a pass into the full-forward zone and there was Gretgrix, in his prime back then at just 32 years of age, hauling in a strong contested mark.
The big spearhead was about 35 metres out on a slight angle and was starting to line up as the final siren sounded.
So the four premiership points were down to the G-Train. Any score would win the game for the Two Blues. As a hush crept over MyJet Oval the big full-forward’s shot went to the left of the big sticks but still registered a behind.
That was it. The Hawks had won by that single point --- 13.12 to 13.11 – to end five years of misery.
Ironically it turned out as we sports writers hunted through our old BFNL records on our iPhones, the G-Train had also been the match-winner five years earlier.
That was in the biggest game of all, the 2008 grand final. Gretgrix nailed eight goals as the Hawks won the flag by one kick: 14.11 (95) to the Bulldogs’ 12.17 (89).
The Hawks had trailed by as much as 27 points during the third quarter before their bounce-back.
And they’d lost their previous two games, including a 59-point shellacking from Strathfieldsaye the previous week.
But the Square defenders never really handled Two Blue key forwards Gretgrix and Kain Robins.
The two big forwards combined for not only seven goals, but more than 20 marks between them.
The G-Train hauled in nine contested marks and nailed four goals while Robins kicked three goals to go with his 13 marks.
The Bulldogs led by two points at half-time – 6.7 to 6.5 – and extended their lead to 27 points 15 minutes into the premiership quarter.
Then the Hawks got going. Led by Lucas Mathews and Brodie Filo in the midfield the Hawks nailed the last four goals of that third term during a 10-minute burst.
Their momentum continued into the last when Gretgrix and Ryan Threlfall goaled. Then a rare goal to Bulldog defender Clayton Anderson, thanks largely to a 50m penalty against Threlfall, slashed the margin to seven points.
As the quarter wound down Square’s Christian Carter roved a pack 25m out and landed his third goal.
By then only two-and-a-half minutes remained on the clock and the Square was back within six points: one, straight kick.
Although he’d missed a shot on the run only moments before Carter’s accurate snap, Square coach Rick Ladson earned a chance at redemption soon after.
He received a free kick 35m out. Ladson nailed the shot and with just 1:08 left on the clock the scores were all tied up on 89 apiece.
From the centre bounce Hawks’ rover Mathews was pushed in the back and from his free drove the Two Blues into attack once more.
And then from the flank in front of the visiting coaches’ box Murley centred the ball to Gretgrix to set the stage for the after-the-siren G-Train heroics.
Ricky Symes had a picnic against an insipid Kangaroo Flat at Dower Park, then known as Beck Legal Oval.
He drilled 10 goals, without a miss, as the Dragons obliterated the Roos after quarter time to win by 120 points.
The Roos trailed by a respectable seven points at the first change but had mustered just 1.7 to the Hurst’s 3.2.
An advantage of three more scoring shots hadn’t helped an inaccurate Flat attack.
Then Symes got going. He must have changed into his ‘kicking boots’ at quarter-time because the Dragons added 11.2 to one behind to snatch an unassailable 74-point long break advantage.
The Dragons’ onslaught didn’t end there, either. They nailed another 10 goals to three in the second half with Symes’ individual 10-goal haul the best by a Hurst player since 2004.
That day in round 12, 2004, Mark Fitzgerald nailed 10, also against Kangaroo Flat at Beck Legal Oval.
Apart from Symes the Hurst also had eight other goalkickers in round 7 (2013) on the day.
Dragons’ coach Shane Meade said after the game his side had a number of forward options.
“We’ve got a few weapons in our attack and the reality is Ricky wasn’t our sole major focal point,” he said.
“We’ve got a number of key options down there.”
Big men Ryan Haythorpe and Ben Anderson both nailed two majors while swingman Lachie Ross bagged three.
Flat playing coach Tyrone ‘Tigger’ Downie said the Dragons were “just too good, simple as that” but although he didn’t mention it the Roos’ cause wasn’t helped by Andrew Devereaux breaking a leg during the third quarter.
Plus skipper Tyson Mihocek was knocked out midway through the first term.
South Bendigo snatched top ladder spot with a resounding 65-point thumping of Maryborough at Princes Park while Gisborne won a fascinating encounter over Strath Storm at Tannery Lane by 10 points.
For Gisborne coming up against an unbeaten Storm they were able to lead for most of the first half and then withstand a spirited Storm fightback.
Anthony Belcher (still going around) was hardly beaten in the air in the Dogs’ back half, Casey Summerfield and Patrick Fitzgerald were in and under a heap of packs while Tom May, Darren Farrugia and Matt Knox each kicked three goals.
Gisborne coach Kevin Fitzgerald was also delighted with the form of young guns Ethan Minns and Patrick McKenna.
For the home side Michael Pilcher and Kris Lea each drilled three majors while skipper Shannon Geary, Matt Ladson and Vinnie Flood were their best.
I was at Princes Park where South totalled 20 scoring shots to the Magpies’ five in the first half.
Justin Maddern and Glen Scholtes hammered home eight of South’s 17 goals on the day between them, while Cameron Rinaldi with three was the Magpies’ main scorer.
The Bloods’ rebounding on-ballers and half-backs in Aaron Connaughton, captain Brady Childs, Ben Gardner and Adrian Crawford dominated the possession count.
South added 9.4 to 4.4 in the concluding two quarters thanks to the untiring work of Childs and Connaughton.
Luke Bucknall, Ben Jackson and Matthew Bond were the Magpies’ best.
There were just nine senior BFNL footy clubs six years back with Kyneton’s senior side in recess for the entire 2013 season.
The Tigers did have an A Reserve netball side which held down third ladder spot after seven, completed rounds.
The B grade netballers were also in the top five, sitting in fourth position with five wins-two losses but the B Reserve and under-17 sides were down at the tail-end of their ladders.
Same with the Tigers’ reserves and under-18 footballers. The reserves were in the cellar with just one win while the under-18s were third from the bottom with a one win-one draw-five losses record in an eight-club competition.
Castlemaine and Maryborough didn’t field under-18 teams six seasons ago.
Final scores: Eaglehawk 13.12 (90) def. G. Square 13.11 (89), Gisborne 15.14 (104) def. S’saye 14.10 (94), Sandhurst 24.13 (157) def. Kang. Flat 4.13 (37) and South Bendigo 17.6 (118) def. M’borough 8.5 (53).
Top Five: South Bendigo 5 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss, 22 prem. points; Strathfieldsaye 4 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss, 18; Gisborne 4-2, 112.5%, 16; Golden Square 4-3, 107.2%, 16; Eaglehawk 4-2, 106.1%, 16.
Leading goalkickers: Justin Maddern (SB), 5, 35; Tyrone Downie (KF) 1, 25; Matt Gretgrix (Eh) 4, 21; Sam Mildren (S’saye) 2, 20 and Ricky Symes (Sh) 10, 17.
Advertiser Player of the Year: Mark Lloyd (GS) 15, Simon Rosa (GS) 15, Mitch Hough (KF) 15, Kain Robins (Eh) 13, Lucas Matthews (Eh) 10, Tim Martin (Sh) 10 and Aaron Connaughton (SB) 10.
A grade netball: S’hurst 47 def. Kang Flat 37, Gisborne 49 def. S’saye 45, G. Square 48 def. Eaglehawk 30 and Maryborough 45 def. S. Bendigo 37.
Top Five: Gisborne 6-0, 24; Kang. Flat 4 wins, 1 draw, 2 losses, 18; G. Square 4-3, 120%, 16; Maryborough 4-3, 98%, 16 and Sandhurst 3-3, 12.
Castlemaine which has struggled with netball numbers in recent seasons was sixth on the nine-club A grade table with 3 wins and 3 losses, just percentage behind the Hurst.