INVERLOCH-KONGWAK has bounced back from its disappointing draw last week to run away with a 51-point win over Phillip Island at Cowes.
In tricky conditions with a cross wind that slightly favoured the clubrooms end, the quality of the contest was impacted and there were countless turnovers from both sides.
The Sea Eagles proved to be cleaner with their ball use and spread better, taking calculated risks and running in numbers to deliver to the quick and skilful forward line.
Inverloch-Kongwak took control of the game early with a goal two minutes in, but the Island hit back through Aaron Edwards to even the ledger.
The Sea Eagles again found the goals after 11 minutes and started to look like they were ready to blow the Island out of the water, but to the Bulldogs’ credit, they hung on and kicked two late goals via Shane Taylor and Matt Jones to take a five-point lead into the first change.
Inverloch-Kongwak took control in the second quarter and if not for the difficult conditions, they could have held a bigger lead at half time.
It was always going to be a tough assignment for the Bulldogs with full forward Steve Pimm, and midfielders Brendan Kimber, Shaun Everington and Will Van Diemen missing from the line-up.
But the Sea Eagles were also far from full strength with Josh Purcell, Dylan Clark, Josh Clottu and Adam Cross missing from its best line-up.
The Island struggled to get the footy inside 50 with just three behinds, while the Sea Eagles managed 3.3 to take a 13-point advantage into the long break.
The third term started with both sides trading goals, with Island ruckman Nick Higginson snagging a ripper from the boundary to ignite his side.
When Jarrod Witnish marked at half forward and converted, the deficit was cut to seven points and the Bulldogs looked to be back in the contest.
But the Sea Eagles had other ideas and with Lewie Rankin mopping up across half back and the wing, Shem Hawking directing traffic through the midfield and Andrew Soumilas winning the contested ball, the visitors had all the answers.
Up forward, Tom Wyatt and Tom Bartholomew were causing headaches for the Island defence.
The Sea Eagles rounded out the quarter with two further goals to take a 21-point lead into the final term.
Inverloch-Kongwak slaughtered the Island with 12 scoring shots to two in the final term, booting six goals to run out convincing winners.
Bartholomew – who considered pulling on the boots for the Island this season before eventually signing with the Sea Eagles – booted back-to-back goals in the final term and finished with three majors to rub salt into the wounds.
The mobile forward has added another dimension to the impressive Sea Eagles team and will only get better after returning from a knee injury for his first game last week.
For Phillip Island, Joel Piera’s hard work off half back saw him named amongst the best, Hayden Moore continued his good form as a ruckman/forward and Jimmy Taylor battled in the midfield and across half forward.
The Bulldogs will be eager to get back on the winners’ list when they travel to Bunyip this week, while the Sea Eagles are on the road to Koo Wee Rup.
Full football coverage in this weeks edition of the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times.
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