NORTH BENDIGO silenced Leitchville-Gunbower football supporters on Saturday after a landslide 68-point thrashing at Hibo Hotel Oval.
The Bulldogs continue to dominate the Heathcote and District Football League remaining undefeated while handing the Bombers their first loss of the season to sit first and second on the ladder respectively.
North Bendigo came out firing in the first quarter and were sharper around the stoppages to deliver some scoreboard pressure early.
Four long bombs from outside 50 helped give the home side a 30-point buffer at the first break.
The Bombers responded well in the second term and looked to be on top of the opposition for 15-20 minutes, but couldn’t hit the scoreboard to trail by 39 points at half time, 6.8 (44) to 13.5 (83).
Sean Hay and Daniel Meroli played exceptionally in the backline and were key in defence, however the usually outstanding midfield was beaten on the day.
Coach Matt Hawken said the team missed several tackles during the game which was uncharacteristic of them.
‘‘We went in to the game knowing North Bendigo are a mature, senior side,’’ Hawken said.
‘‘They played a tight game and were a lot better around the stoppages.
‘‘We should have nearly been back square at half time after the quarter we played but just couldn’t convert on a few key goals.’’
Leitchville Gunbower found it difficult to match the stronger bodies and looked tired at times during the game.
This allowed the home side to get on top and use the ball better.
The Bulldogs never dropped off in intensity and continued to extend their lead in each term, kicking 10.8 to the Bombers’ 6.3 in the second half and winning 23.13 (151) to 12.11 (83).
Brady Herdman (three goals) and Samuel Barnes (two goals) were impressive in the Bulldogs’ forward line and garnered plenty of assistance from an even spread of scoreline contributors.
Matthew Perri was the highest goal scorer for Leitchville Gunbower with four with Jack Dye also kicking three.
Lee Pollock delivered the most consistent performance to be named as the Bombers’ best player.
‘‘We’ll keep working on improving and hopefully get a couple more players back this week before facing White Hills,’’ Hawken said.
‘‘It was a good experience for our younger guys like Logan Prout and Brady Hore to play in a big game and they held up really well.
‘‘The reserves had a good win in a high pressured game (on Saturday) which shows a lot of depth at the club.
‘‘We can still work on getting that even contribution on the field and being sharper with our hands and foot skills to absorb pressure a little better.’’
Mitch Bruns played well in reserves to potentially get a look in at senior level next week with Daniel Couwenberg another likely in.
‘‘The best way to get over a loss is to bounce back with a win,’’ Hawken said.
‘‘We have a pretty tough run coming up, but we’re looking forward to the challenge.’’