By Mark Heenan
Barwon Heads won its tenth consecutive Battle of the Bridge after it demolished Ocean Grove by 85 points at Ray Menzies Memorial Oval on Saturday.
The Seagulls were far too slick for the home side and laid the foundations for victory with a seven-goal first term blitz to lead Ocean Grove by 32 points at quarter time.
It was Ocean Grove’s heaviest loss of 2019 and their lowest score this season.
The 14-goal win helped sixth-placed Barwon Heads (6-4) bridge a three-game gap plus percentage over Ocean Grove (3-7) in seventh position.
Barwon Heads co-coach Mitch Herbison said his side went in with a point to prove after three losses from its past four games after defeats to Drysdale, Anglesea and Torquay.
“Our attitude and effort and all the team things that we asked of the players was right up and about when we are playing our best footy,” Herbison said.
“Really proud with the way we approached the game and the way we executed was pretty pleasing as well.”
The Seagulls smashed the Grubbers on the turnover in the first term and Herbison was impressed with his side’s forward pressure.
“We sort of executed those things in the first quarter with our forward pressure and we got a few goals just from tackles, which is pleasing,” he said.
On the flip side, it was an embarrassing loss for Ocean Grove, which last defeated Barwon Heads in Round 14, 2014, and effectively wiped out its slim finals hopes.
The Grubber defeat was compounded with a calf injury to star midfielder Luke Cartelli, while youngster Joe McDonald left the field and was sidelined with a foot injury and senior co-captain Justin Carey was given a yellow card for an indiscretion.
Herbison said the absence of Cartelli, last year’s Grubber senior best and fairest winner, early in the game was a player the Seagulls had planned for.
“We definitely noticed him,” Herbison said.
“He is one of players we put a bit of time into during the week, I certainly noticed when he left the field.
“(Our) guys in the midfield did a really good job at winning the contest.”
Barwon Heads youngster and Geelong Falcons representative Charlie Sprague, was damaging across midfield and forward and finished with one goal, while Tim McIntyre booted three goals and Mitch Phelps, Braedan Eddy and Mitchell Gaunt all snared two majors.
Tim McIntyre, who played one AFL game for the Adelaide Crows in 2012, went down with a knee injury and Herbison said the star player would have scans during the week.
“It didn’t look great, it looked like one of those serious knee injuries,” Herbison said after the match.
“We will hope for the best and get a scan and everything this week – hopefully nothing too serious.”
The visitors led the Grubbers by 38 points at half-time and the margin blew out to 51 points at the last break.
Ocean Grove had fewer inside 50 entries and struggled to take the ball out of the Seagulls’ attacking half with Barwon Heads’ intense forward pressure.
Geelong Falcons representative Tom Richardson played his first senior match since his nine-goal haul in Round 7 against Portarlington and kicked his side’s first goal.
Ollie Monteith, Jake Ward and Ryan Symonds all kicked single goals for the home side, while Jamison Owen, a former St Joseph’s junior player, made his Grubber senior debut.
OCEAN Grove now plays host to fourth-placed Drysdale at Ray Menzies Memorial Oval this Saturday 22 June. BFL SENIOR SCOREBOARDBARWON HEADS 16.17 (113) def OCEAN GROVE 4.4 (28)
Goals: J. Ward, O. Monteith, T. Richardson, R. Symonds
Best: H. Walker, R. Hobbs, J. Perkovic, J. Ward