Eastern Ranges 17-16 (118) def Cowell 8-12 (60)
COWELL were almost unrecognisable from the team that took to the park a month or so ago.
Quality inclusions Tod Schumann, Justin Mills, Clay Smith and Zane Wykamp made all the difference and they should have led by more than the eight points the scoreboard was indicating at quarter time.
Dave Gray was leading the way for the Cats with any number of centre clearances but he reminds me a bit of the greyhound I backed in the last leg of the quaddy at Angle Park on Thursday night - not the best chaser in the business.
Having given the umpires a few handy hints on "how to" everything in the first half - his Casper with Laryngitis (could not get boo out of him) impersonation after the long break came as a complete shock and coincided with Ranges taking control of the game to add 9-8 to 3-6 after half time.
It was an entertaining game and one Cowell ought to be pleased with.
Klay Smith was terrific overhead and probably should have made the opposition pay a heavier price than they did for conceding inside 50 opportunities.
Mills and Schumann retained their competitive edge and Mitchell Gibbs and Tod Ryan made the deep forwards work hard for their possessions.
For Ranges Damien Hannemann continued his recent good form and traded the candy for some razor sharp shooting - a couple of textbook goals from long range late in the game rounding out a solid four-quarter effort.
Jack Kenny was too pacy often enough inside 50 to finish with five majors while Pat Jenner helped himself to four. Michael Noble slotted seamlessly back into a defensive role and Zac Meyer did enough to suggest he will line up in the As again.
Ranges claimed the points in the B grade but they had to work harder for it than the 27-11 to 2-2 final score would suggest.
Nine goals straight in the first quarter was as good as I have seen from the Ranges' forwards.
Logan Elliott and Percy Butterfield finished with a six-pack each, Ben Shannon was ever dangerous inside 50 and his four goals included a couple of clinical finishes that Dr Gerry Considine would have been proud of.
Further away from the goals, Matt Beinke, Nathan Gillings and Joel Nield racked up possessions like hardened football junkies while Klay Harris goes from strength to strength week by week, becoming an integral leader in the Ranges structure.
When it is not your day, it is not your day - just ask Troy Gregory. The Angry Anderson look-alike well and truly had a loose ball covered until it took a last minute 90-degree deviation and bounced back up and over his head.
His expletive laden reaction summed it up perfectly.
Ports 2-8 (20) lost to Kimba 25-13 (163)
KIMBA made the trek to Port Neill and the minis removed the dew in a contested game from start to finish with Kimba just getting over the line.
It was a tight first half in the colts with Ports running away for a comfortable win.
Kimba was too strong in the B grade but Hayden Harris and Jayden Crowther competed well for Ports.
For the A grade match, conditions were perfect with a light breeze across the oval.
Ports were coming off a close game against Ranges but having Sid Masters away at state country, it was going to be difficult to kick a winning score.
Ports were slow to start and Kimba was on the board quickly with a goal to Dion Woolford.
Tom Davey pulled a hamstring and Ports were a man down.
Ports managed to work the ball forward for a goal to Ash Masters. Kimba were dominating the ruck, giving them first use of the ball.
Jess Kemp took a strong overhead mark and kicked Kimba's second. Kimba 3-4 to Ports 1-2 at quarter time.
A long kick from the centre bounce set up an easy Kimba goal, followed by another two to Kimba in quick succession. Ports' Ben Lienert was playing well and had a couple of wayward shots on goal.
Kimba's ability to spread the ball and get accurate delivery to their forwards was making things difficult for a hard-working Ports back line. Kimba 7-8 to Ports 1-3 at half time.
After the half-time break, Kimba were quick out of the blocks again with Matthew Vandeleur's ability to handball under pressure to advantage, opening up Ports. Ports' Jake Turner kicked a nice snap for a goal.
Kimba's Ben Clements, a.k.a. Junior Burger, kicked five of Kimba's nine goals for the quarter, 16-9 to 2-3.
Ports started the final quarter with enough pressure to stem the flow for a while with Evan Hunt, in his first game in nearly two years, moving into the back lines.
Ports had the first shot on goal before Kimba monstered them again for another nine-goal quarter.
Better players for Kimba included Woolford (BOG) Reece Rayson and Vandeleur. JFK was in a lot of trouble with seven shots from the Darcy Noll being accurate. Jess Kemp was the dominant big man on the ground and B. Clements had an impact in the middle and going forward.
For Ports, Ben Lienert, Jake Bammann, Caleb Johnson and Ian Wedding worked hard all day through the middle. Scott Masters, Max Fauser and Corey Ainsworth also worked hard to stem the flow down back under massive pressure.