By Mark Heenan
Ocean Grove won a hard-fought contest over BFL finals challenger Queenscliff despite the absence of three key defenders at Ray Menzies Memorial Oval on 12 May.
The Grubber backline duo of Peter Hardy (flu) and Kaiden Long (teeth) were sidelined, while Patrick Maloney will miss a further six weeks after he suffered a broken collarbone in Round 5 against Torquay.
Ocean Grove’s injury woes were compounded with a shoulder injury to Corey Walter against the Coutas, while star on-baller James Linton copped a knock to his jaw during the match.
“I’ve done some damage to my AC joint – yeah could be (out for) four weeks,” Walter said.
Equally Queenscliff was without former Drysdale and Leopold player Ben Carmichael (ankle), while Justin Maher and Caleb Whitley both sustained injuries during the game.
Ocean Grove 9.15 (69) defeated Queenscliff 8.7 (55) by 14 points.
Ocean Grove sits in fourth position with a 5-2 record, while second-placed Anglesea (5-2) and Geelong Amateur (5-2) in third spot are higher on ladder with a superior percentage.
Barwon Heads remains the only BFL team undefeated after seven rounds.
Despite the home side kicking with a howling breeze in the first quarter, an understrength Ocean Grove defence was under immense pressure after the visitors rose to the challenge with four goals.
Queenscliff led by one point at quarter time.
Silky Couta Regan Greenwood had the ball on a string early to set up vital plays, while James Linton help the home side get back on level terms with a dominant end to the first quarter up forward.
The Grubbers got what they wanted in the second term – a dog fight.
It was a low scoring second quarter, both sides kicked one goal apiece and Queenscliff failed to extend their margin at half time with its one-point advantage.
The inaccurate Grubbers got on top in the third quarter amidst the windy and rainy conditions with the home side kicking 4.8 at goal to lead Queenscliff by 17 points at the final break.
Ocean Grove defender Glenn Campbell reduced Couta forward Daniel Degois to one goal, while youngster Mitch Lindkvist’s two-goal haul got the Grubbers up and about.
Grubber Adam Gerdtz, last year’s reserves grade best-and-fairest winner, played his first senior match for 2018.
Jake Carmody finished with three goals for Ocean Grove and increased his season tally to 20 goals.
In the Under 19s Division 2 Bendigo Bank Cup Ocean Grove thrashed Queenscliff by 69 points.
Final scores Ocean Grove 14.15 (99) defeated Queenscliff 4.6 (30).
The Grubbers flew out of the blocks with a six-goal first term, while Queenscliff remained scoreless at quarter time.
Ocean Grove’s Harley Pearce booted three goals, team-mates Lleyton Woolley and Craig Davis each kicked two majors.
The Grubbers next match is against Drysdale at Ray Menzies Memorial Oval on Saturday 26 May.
Senior match starts at 2.10pm.
OCEAN GROVE 8.11 (59) d QUEENSCLIFF 7.7 (49)
Goals: J. Carmody 3, M. Lindkvist 2, J. Carey, J. Linton, J. Anderson, C. Marchbank
Best: J. Carey, J. Linton, L. Cartelli, J. Anderson, G. Campbell, M. Lindkvist