Gold outclassed by Blues
From Bendigo Advertiser
Reported by Luke West
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THE Bendigo Gold were handed a football lesson by the Northern Blues in their VFL match at the Queen Elizabeth Oval on Saturday.
The Gold were outclassed in every facet of the game as the Blues stormed to a 100-point victory, 21.21 (147) to 7.5 (47), in front of a small Saturday afternoon crowd.
With only four Essendon players in the team, Saturday was a golden opportunity for Bendigo’s VFL-listed players to stand up and grab their opportunity.
But the writing was on the wall for the Gold from the outset after the Blues kicked the first three goals in the opening 10 minutes and never looked back.
The Gold had no answer to the physicality, pace and midfield dominance of the Blues, as well as ruckman Robbie Warnock, who had 53 hit-outs.
Warnock’s domination of the airwaves helped the Blues win the centre clearances 20-11 and stoppages 34-20.
“There weren’t too many areas we were good in today,” Bendigo coach Hayden Skipworth said.
“It was obviously a disappointing result and one we’ve got to learn from pretty quick because we have a short week coming up with the Geelong game on Friday night.
“The things that let us down were things we could control, like structures and contested footy.”
The Blues – who went into the game on the back of three close losses to start the season – set the tone for the match in the first term as they raced to a 32-point lead, 6.2 to 1.0.
The Gold struggled to get the ball in their forward half in the opening term as the Blues led the inside-50 count 16-5 at quarter-time.
And it didn’t get any better over the last three quarters as the inside-50 count finished 62-26 in favour of the Blues.
The closest the Gold would get after quarter-time was when they twice cut the deficit to 26 points during the second quarter.
The Gold kicked four of their seven goals during the second term, with key forward Justin Maddern kicking two of them.
Having been starved of opportunities in the first term, Maddern looked dangerous in the second quarter with four marks.
Having given themselves a chance of getting back into the game with the margin back to 26 points late in the second quarter, the Gold’s chances suffered a blow when they coughed up two goals to Paul Diargo and Timothy Lincoln in the last two minutes that extended the Blues’ lead to 38 points at the main break.
It then became all one-way traffic in the second half as the Blues lifted another gear, with only their inaccuracy saving the Gold from a bigger hiding.
The Blues had 26 scoring shots in the second half, kicking 10.16 to the Gold’s 2.2, with Bendigo’s two goals kicked by Matt Little and Dean Putt.
Rick Ladson, who played a mix of defence and midfield, battled valiantly for the Gold to be their best player.
“I thought Rick tried hard all day and put his head over the footy when it was his time to go,” Skipworth said.
Brendan Lee and Wayne Schultz, who have both started the season well, were good again in the midfield, while Brad Collins and Trent Shinners battled hard in defence against a barrage of Blues’ inside 50s.
“The Blues didn’t let us off with anything today. They smashed us around the footy and they smashed us on the scoreboard, so we’ve got a lot we need to improve on” Skipworth said.
The Gold will be striving to rebound this Friday night when they take on Matthew Knights’ Geelong at the QEO from 6.30pm.