A SPARKLING performance from Allansford at its home ground on Saturday has set up a mid-season blockbuster.
The second-placed Cats will go into this week’s clash with unbeaten Panmure at the top of their game after an impressive 46-point win over the Timboon Demons.
After winning the first six games of the season, the spotlight on the Cats dimmed when they dropped games to Merrivale and Kolora-Noorat in successive weeks.
But those who underestimate this Cats line-up may be in for a shock as they are certainly a premiership contender.
Allansford made the most of its home-ground advantage on Saturday to get off to a flying start.
The side made use of a strong cross breeze and had a goal on the board within the first minute of play.
Timboon’s ground-level players Jarrod Cook and Mik McSween gave the Demons the edge in centre clearances but this advantage was negated through the work of Allansford’s Sam Burchell who was moping up everything that came his way in his role as loose man in defence.
The Demons managed two goals against the flow but Allansford was able to take a 27-point lead into the first break.
Timboon Demons coach Michael Clements knew his team couldn’t afford to fall further behind and he took it on himself to lead the way — his increased intensity rewarded when he kicked the first goal of the second quarter.
However, the Demons were unable to peg back the advantage the Cats set up in the first quarter, with midfielders Joel Cornelissen, Josh Brown and Nick Johnstone working hard to ensure the Demons did not have a clear path to goal.
Timboon only managed to kick two goals for the quarter, a tally matched by Jet Dowie who took his half-time tally to five goals.
The second half could not have started any worse for the Demons, with Nick Johnstone winning the first centre clearance and hitting Dowie on the chest.
The spearhead kicked truly to secure his sixth goal of the day. While the Demons continued to fight hard, the Cats had all the answers as they controlled the quarter with five goals to one to open their lead out to 53 points at the final break.
Rain and the big difference on the scoreboard turned the last quarter into a non-event, with the main interest being if Dowie could get his goal tally into double figures.
He got plenty of ball and finished the game with eight goals in his side’s 46-point win.
Allansford’s blend of players is good enough to challenge the best in the competition.
Nick Johnstone, Brett Membrey and Jet Dowie are elite district league players and there is no shortage of players at the next level giving the side a healthy spread of high-quality performers.
The Demons looked below their best on Saturday and would need to be at the top of their game to be able to match it with the ladder leaders.
Jeff Rosolin and Ash and Tom Hunt are overseas, with the Hunt boys likely to return before the finals.
Andrew Blake is also headed overseas.
“Travelling is killing us at the moment,” Clements said. “But good luck to them.”
The high point of the day for the Demons came with the performance of 15-year-old Ben Saunders, who kicked three goals in an impressive senior debut.