HEATHCOTE stormed to its second win of the Heathcote and District Football League season with a 22-point victory over bottom side Elmore on Saturday.
Travelling to Elmore the club was confident of registering the victory against the winless Bloods but coach Luke Bell and his players knew it would be still a dangerous match
After a foggy morning, the Elmore ground was bathed in sunshine when the team ran out onto the ground.
From the first bounce the Saints dominated proceedings, helped in no small way by the dominance of big man Dan Russell.
His high leaping and ability to get his hand on the footy first at the centre bounces and around the ground gave the Saints on-ballers first use of the ball.
Skipper Jake Condon was at his bustling and dashing best and the ball was being driven into the forward line with relative ease.
With Brayden Klemke enjoying the freedom of playing up the ground and with his fellow forwards getting plenty of opportunities, the Saints slammed on 6.4.
Unlike previous weeks, the ball was being delivered into the forward line with more purpose and in areas more likely to convert a goal.
It looked to be more of the same in the second quarter as Russell once again controlled the rucks and Jake Condon was forcing the ball forward.
With Darcy McLean enjoying the space of the Elmore ground and using his pace to great effect, the Saints were once again dominating.
The difference between the first and second quarter was the way in which the ball was driven into the 50m area.
With more shots being kicked from the pockets and flanks, conversion became difficult.
In a frustrating quarter for the spectators and the coaching staff the Saints squandered a dominant quarter by kicking 10 straight behinds.
There was no panic in the camp as the players walked into the rooms at half-time, but the match should have been out of the Bloods reach.
Elmore players began to get their hands on the ball more in the third term and the Heathcote defence was under more pressure.
Marc Millard’s experience and calm under pressure was a key factor in the Saints restricting Elmore to four goals in the third term.
Nathan Bake put his body on the line on numerous occasions and his uncompromising attack on the ball swept aside a number of Elmore attacks.
The frustration continued in the early stages of the third term as the Saints kicked more behinds, the sequence of 12 straight minor scores being broken by a goal to Alex McIvor.
McIvor was providing his teammates with a focal point as he led out on every occasion.
Holding a five-goal lead at the final term the Saints looked to have done enough but Elmore had made a number of changes and they came out hard.
From the first bounce, the Bloods took the ball and drove it deep for a goal. They continued to drive the ball forward and soon they had reduced the margin to a kick and the game was in the balance.
The Saints steadied to kick a goal and then draw away from the Bloods.
When the siren blew the Saints had recorded their second win for the season and a great way to enter the club bye next week.
With players returning from injury the team is looking forward to the second round matches.
■ In A grade netball, Elmore proved too strong for Heathcote winning 44-26.