Buln Buln affirm premiership favouritism

Ruck Matthew Gray took some important marks in the backline. 412135 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS.

By Jonty Ralphsmith

Buln Buln arrived at Lang Lang wanting to make a statement to the Ellinbank District Football League.

They departed with an 85-point win, defeating the hosts, undefeated until last week’s loss to Ellinbank, 16.9 105 to 2.8 20.

Lang Lang’s only two goals of the game came in the second term, with star forward Marc Holt kicking one of them but well-held by Tom Axford and Shaun Beecroft.

“What we found was with the likes of Brandon Allen who is good at cutting off his man and putting himself in front of a big guy with his timing and decision, took some big marks in front of ‘Holty’ throughout the day,” said coach Bob McCullum.

“We also had the smarts of Matty Gray who put himself in positions to take marks.”

The Lyrebirds’ flexibility going forward and unpredictability inside 50 also spelled trouble for the rest of the competition.

While goal kicker Patrick Ireland has taken scalps throughout the season – and still finished with four goals – the visitors had 10 individual goal scorers to show off their multi-pronged attack.

After Buln Buln kicked the only two of the opening quarter, a six goal to two second quarter blew the game open, before the Lyrebirds continued on with six second half goals.

With reigning best and fairest winner Mitch Nobelius missing due to Covid-19, McCullum is optimistic about where the Lyrebirds can get to in the second half of 2024.

“The mindset going into this game was we wanted to send a message to the rest of the league that we’re not just happy winning games willy-nilly,” McCullum said.

“We feel like we’ve improved and want to keep ourselves on our toes and continue to improve.

“We spoke pre-game and at every break about how we wanted to keep that energy up and outwork them as much as we could.

“I felt our midfield really set the tone and their ability to outnumber at the contest was a real focus – to show our work rate and be cleaner.”

Elsewhere in the EDFL, Ellinbank made light work of Poowong, led by Jake Harper to move to second position on the table; Nilma Darnum was too strong for Yarragon; Trafalgar consigned Catani to another loss; and Braydon McHugh had a day out for Longwarry with 10 goals in the Crows’ routing of Nyora.

Results: Poowong 4.11 35 v Ellinbank 13.9 87, Lang lang 2.8 20 v Buln Buln 16.9 105, Nilma Darnum 17.11 113 v Yarragon 10.6 66, Catani 8.4 52 v Trafalgar 16.15 111, Longwarry 27.13 175 v Nyora 4.3 27.

LADDER: Buln Buln 36, Ellinbank 32, Neerim South 28, Lang Lang 28, Longwarry 24, Nilma Darnum 16, Trafalgar 16, Yarragon 12, Poowong 8, Catani 0, Nyora 0.

Fixture: Ellinbank v Neerim South, Yarragon v Lang Lang, Trafalgar v Nilma Darnum, Nyora v Catani, Buln Buln v Poowong