Interchange Bench: Ladder gap opens up ahead of Round 5

After another interesting round of football in the GSFL, a gap is beginning to open up at the top of the ladder heading into Round 5.

Willunga, Mount Compass and Langhorne Creek are all 4-0, Encounter Bay, McLaren, Strathalbyn and Yankalilla trail on 2-2; while Myponga/Sellicks, Goolwa Port/Elliot and Victor Harbor are all struggling on 0-4.

Over at Langhorne Creek, the reigning premiers (who had a number of key outs) endured a big scare, as McLaren took it right up to them. The visitors were left to rue a missed opportunity, with poor kicking being their downfall.

The first quarter was a tussle with both teams struggling to break the shackles, but Mutton and Mckay got two goals on the board early for McLaren, who were out-marking the home side. Marr kicked another, before Lally and Kellock nailed two goals for the Hawks to complete the quarter.

The Eagles had all the run to start the second term. Ellis worked the ball out of the stoppages and Mathews and Lawrie obliged with two goals to open the quarter.

The Hawks managed two majors in return through Sellar and Lally and at the main break, McLaren were only 10 points up, a result of poor kicking and nine behinds.

Both sides traded goals in the third, but the Hawks began to build momentum and dominate in the centre. Quick goals from O'Dea and Lally got the home side in front at the final break and the Hawks were able to hold on, as McLaren again missed a number of opportunities on goal.

Langhorne Creek was across the line. Final scores: 11.11-77 to 9.17-71.

Best for the Hawks were A. Cleggett, Howell and Sellar. The Eagles were well served by Moyle down back, Marr and Loots.

At Willunga, things blew out enormously when the Demons took on a depleted Yankalilla side. As many as seven key outs for the visitors meant things were going to be difficult from the outset, and the home side was not in a merciful mood.

This was a one-sided contest from the start and Hoffman kicked the first of his 7-goals for Willunga a minute in, then followed it up with a second after some slick ball movement courtesy of Altus and Hutchens.

Miegel, celebrating his 100th game (after two knee reconstructions), slotted one from the goal square and was swamped by enthusiastic teammates, while Yankalilla missed two early shots on goal.

Willunga opened up a 7 goal lead at quarter time and early into the second term, it was raining goals for the home side, with 13 kicked over 34 minutes.

On the few occasions that Yankalilla got the ball forward of centre, Willunga's halfback line of Burdett and the Scooter brothers were just too good.

Despite being 20 goals up at half time, Willunga vowed not to slow down, and the goal-fest continued. Yankalilla could do little to stop them and some poor kicking in the third was all that prevented the Demons passing 300.

Final scores: 37.30-252 to 1.5-11. Best for the Demons were C. Hutchens, B. Fenton, T. Hoffmann, S. Beath and H. Mills, while B. Thompson, B. Gogel, J. Kay and B. Shute fought hard for Yankalilla.

At Victor Harbor, the home side again fought valiantly up until half time, at which point visitors Mount Compass ran away from them.

It's been a tale of two halves for both these sides so far this year. Victor Harbor have been in games early, but have struggled to run them out, while Compass have been dominant in the later stages, but comparatively slow early.

Four goals to one in the first quarter put the Dogs in good stead, but Victor fought back hard in the second to trail by less than three kicks at the main break.

From here, Compass got the job done by almost doubling their score in the third and keeping Victor goalless in the final term. Final scores: 5.9-39 to 15.18-108.

Best for the visitors were L. Johnston, Z. Vitkunas, N. Mott, T. Vitkunas, P. Hoban and K. Simons, while for Victor, Z. Dowling, B. Schubert, S. Guilhaus, B. Wade and J. Boyd were solid.

At Myponga/Sellicks, the home side were left disappointed after giving the game away to Strathalbyn in the first half, in a match that could have been closer.

The visitors came out firing and had the run of the play to lead 62 to 19 at the main break. O' Grady and X. Redden were in everything, while Mayes and Spinks battled for the home side.

In the second half, Myponga-Sellicks were improved, but were kept goalless in the third quarter. In the final term, they managed three goals to bring a touch of respectability to the scoreline. Final scores: 6.3-39 to 13.15-93.

Best for Strathalbyn were O'Grady, X. Redden, J. Wright, M. Elliott and S. Elliott. For Myponga-Sellicks, R. Mayes, J. Spinks, H. Cock, A. Kempster and W. Hutchinson performed well.

At Goolwa/Port Elliot, the game went the way most had predicted, with Encounter Bay securing an easy win.

After a tight first quarter, the visitors began to pull away in the second term, but Goolwa/Port Elliot battled hard to keep the Bays accountable. The home side's grit was impressive, but the Bays continued to chip away.

Goolwa/Port Elliot took a couple of points off a 35 point half time deficit by the end of the third term, but in the last, the Bays put the foot down. They kicked 7 goals to run out winners. Final scores: 5.4-34 to 16.14-110.

Best for Goolwa/Port Elliot were J. Fry, A. Raikiwasa, D. Cuthbert, Z. Bates and T. Rigney. For the Bays, C. Pettitt, A. Fyfe, L. Williams, F. Tonkin and L. Costello were dominant.

Round 5 predictions 

McLaren over Encounter Bay by 14 points.

Mount Compass over Langhorne Creek by 2 points.

Myponga/Sellicks over Victor Harbor by 13 points.

Willunga over Goolwa/Port Elliot by 90 points.

Strathalbyn over Yankalilla by 14 points.