By Aiden Box
INVERLOCH Kongwak has maintained second spot with a convincing win over Bunyip, all but ending their hopes of a finals berth in 2021.
Fresh from a scare last week, Inverloch Kongwak blooded young star Mitchell Hewitson, welcomed back Lewis Rankin, Ryan Sparkes and Toby Mahoney, and looked to make a statement early.
However it was the visiting Bunyip squad that drew first blood, with a goal just seconds into the first term.
The Sea Eagles soon got over this, attacking the scoreboard fast and efficiently, booting six majors to one in the quarter.
Things changed in the second term, with a sustained lift from the Bulldogs, they fought hard to quell Sea Eagle attacks and produce forward entries of their own.
This finally paid off towards the end of the term as the travelling underdogs bagged three goals in-a-row.
However this did little to the scoreboard which was still strongly in the home team’s favour.
IK led by six goals at the main break, with the likes of Sparkes, Corey Casey and Tom Hams dominating through the midfield.
Rankin and Xavier Hughes were also performing well down back.
Bunyip continued to show fight after the main break, in more ways than one, as Xavier Kinder and Nathan Allen created and finished multiple opportunities.
But Casey continued to give the home side a spark.
Breaking the Bulldogs chain of repeat inside 50s, he played on quickly out of full back kicking long and accurately to the wing.
From here IK was able to complete a beautiful team play through the hands of Sparkes and Jack Hutchinson to slot their only goal of the term.
The Bulldogs won what was a fiery back and forth third quarter and cut the lead to just 21 points at the final break.
After a strong final address from coach Ben Soumilas, the Sea Eagles put the foot down, weathered the Bulldogs’ barrage and ran the Bulldogs off their feet in the fourth.
The fast and classy ball movement of the home team proved too much for a tiring Bunyip in greasy conditions.
IK’s Tristan Van Driel showed his dominance again in front of the big sticks finishing with six majors to go with his eight against Nar Nar Goon.
However the highlight of the game was a late goal to club favourite Lachie Johnson.
‘Cheese’ as he is affectionately known, was well supported on the day and his goal capped off the 58-point win for Inverloch Kongwak.
The Sea Eagles will look to increase their winning streak to three next week in Warragul against the red hot ‘Dusties’.
And the battling Bulldogs will look to get back on the winners’ list when they take on their old rival Garfield at home.