North Ballarat - 4.2 7.6 9.7 11.8 (74)
Sandringham - 6.1 9.7 13.8 19.1 (127)
Sandringham: Shenton 6, McCartin 5, O’Kearney 3, Saunders 2, Murdoch, Webster, Lonie
North Ballarat: S. Hooper 3, Keeble 3, A. Hooper, George, Cox, Rippon, Perry
Sandringham: Shenton, McCartin, Saunders, Weickhardt, O’Kearney, Murdoch
North Ballarat: Tate, Rippon, Marshall, Lockyer, S. Hooper, Schache
Sandringham’s forward duo of Cam Shenton and Paddy McCartin dominated up forward, booting 11 goals between them to steer the Zebras towards a 53-point win over North Ballarat at Eureka Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The trip up to Eureka Stadium had no effect on the Sandringham squad, who put the foot down in the last quarter to blow out what was a close game for a majority of the afternoon.
The home side came out strong and fast, kicking the first goal within seconds. It was clear early that the ground, in remarkable condition, was going to allow for quick ball movement. The Zebras replied straight away through Cam Shenton.
A long entry “kick and hope” somehow found Shenton again, booting his second and the Zebras second. Already Shenton was becoming a nightmare matchup for North Ballarat. As a forward he was proving to be incredibly dangerous in the air but also on the deck during the early stages.
Both teams had strong marking options up forward. For Sandringham, Paddy McCartin got on to one early and slotted his first.
The magical Jack Lonie snapped a tremendous goal around the body on the boundary line. The home crowd was quickly silenced, either in disbelief or pure shock.
McCartin again found space on the lead, this time right on the siren to give Sandringham a handy 11-point lead at quarter time. The contest was close at this point. Both teams knew that turnovers in the middle of the ground would be costly with such a quick track.
At quarter time senior coach Paul Hudson was all encouraging the switch up. Moving the ball from one side to open up the game and allow for cleaner forward entries.
Shenton’s fourth goal came early in the second quarter. He was on track for a big day out.
Midway through the second term and North Ballarat had managed to even the contest at 46 a piece. Tom Simpkin caressed a perfect pass to the top of the goal square for McCartin, followed by a fortunate 100m penalty for Nick O’Kearney gifting him a goal in the goal square.
The second half implored the likes of O’Kearney and Jimmy Webster to become active in the forward 50. Tommy Lee was at every defensive contest, causing major issues for the opposition forwards before the coaching staff moved him forward.
Both teams traded goals in the third term, until the fourth quarter came and it was all Sandringham.
At the final change Josh Saunders had 27 disposals with Jack Sinclair also getting plenty of the ball with 21 of his own.
The potency of the Sandringham forward line was made even more dangerous with the addition of Tommy Lee. It was a matchup to be forgotten about for the North Ballarat backline. McCartin, Lee and Shenton constantly provided a target.
McCartin kicked his fifth and Shenton lead the way with six of his own.
A real sign of team defense was evident as Sandringham managed to lock the ball in the forward fifty for much longer than the first three quarters. Obviously this gave the Zebras more opportunities in front of goal.
Arguably, Sandringham had plenty more to play for with the win pushing the Zebras into the exclusive top four.
Senior coach Paul Hudson highlighted the importance of the third quarter and the changes that needed to be made.
“The game was on the line in the third quarter, then we started to get to work with our pressure.”
“We got what we needed, moving Tommy Lee forward.”
A comfortable 53-point victory in the end was just the confidence Sandringham needed moving forward.
The regular season is drawing to a close and the final three games will go a long way in shaping where Sandringham finishes at the end. Wins are crucial.
Next week Sandringham face Box Hill back at home at Trevor Barker Oval, Sunday starting at 2pm.