Flag race no longer a forgone conclusion

Flag race no longer a forgone conclusion

THE gap between BFL ladder leaders Geelong Amateur and the league’s top teams is closer than ever according to Ocean Grove coach Shane Jack.
The undefeated Amateur scored a stirring come from behind victory against a brave Ocean Grove to win by 14 points on July 26.
The Grubbers, who led Amateur at each change, jumped their highly fancied opponents at the first bounce with a six-goal opening term blitz in the slippery conditions at Ocean Grove Memorial Recreation Reserve.
Tall forwards Daniel Maloney, who booted four majors, and Brayden Warren, who kicked two goals, were sublime in the wet early.
Despite the loss against the all-conquering Amateur, Jack felt there were a lot of positive signs for his players to work on with BFL finals commencing later this month.
“I think so (the gap is closing), we showed with that first half especially that we really controlled the game,” Jack told the Voice after the match.
“We knew they were coming and they are a good side and they were going to keep coming and they got us in the end.
“I was really proud the way we fought the game out.
“I think if we can produce our best footy it is going to  test any side with the way we played in the first half.”
Likewise Geelong Amateur co-coach Cory Bauer agreed, and said any of the top five BFL teams were capable of victory on their day.
The 14-point win against Ocean Grove was Amateur’s smallest victory margin since it defeated Drysdale by 13 points in round six.
“You look at a performance like that and I would not like to think there is a gap,” Bauer said.
“I think anyone in the top five on their given day can beat anyone.”
Prior to the game, both sides had valuable key personnel missing from the match.
For Ocean Grove, ex-AFL star Max Rooke did not play after being a late withdrawal, while star on-baller Andy Higgins (calf) was rested and dynamite forward Travis Gavin (shoulder) continues to be sidelined.
Jack Rawlings made a sparkling return for the Grubbers with a couple of impressive running bursts through the midfield, one which resulted in one of the goals of the year.
Equally, Amateur fielded a youthful team in the absence of experienced quartet Andrew Lovick, Baden Dodd, Ben Lavars and Tom Balding, while goalkicking ace Rowan McSparron and veteran swooping defender Travis Robertson did not play.
Amateur midfielder Tim Clark, who booted three goals, and key position player Marc O’Donoghue showed class in the win.

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