Skip to main content

BFNL Review - Round 1, 2024

With flags unveiled and wins under lights, there was plenty of action to come out of the Round 1 football results.

Scoop reviews the weekend that was.

Bacchus Marsh


def. by



New Cobras coach Dennis Armfield remained upbeat despite his sides 16-point loss to Chris Maple's much improved Swans.

The Red Yellow and Black army were in this game up to their eyeballs on their home deck before a late rally from the Swans saw them steady late and go onto to register an all-important win on the road.

There was less than a goal separating the two sides at every change to have the Cobras and Swans faithful on the edge of their seats.

Both sides had many contributors, but it was the genuine pace of the Swans that hurt the Cobras’ wishes of having the game played on their own terms.

If not for the Swans butchering the ball on repeat occasions with their entry kick inside 50, the margin could well have been greater given the visiting Swans had 30 shots on goal.

Scores were level for a moment in the final term locked at 69 apiece as supporters from both camps were forced to contemplate the thought of a draw. But it wasn’t to be as Maples’ young Swans came up with the goods.   

Progressive youngster Paddy Simpson was named best for the Swans while Will Lalor got the nod for the Cobras.

The Swans return home this week against Redan for a chance to make it a 2-0 start to their season. The Cobras on the other hand will be looking to bounce back with a must win on the road over fellow round one losers Lake Wendouree.


Dennis Armfield (Bacchus Marsh): "Close game all day, (we) were hurt on turnover (and) slow to react. They were predictable to one another and were able to find the quick free option. We had a patch where I thought we may kick away but to Ballarat's credit, they turned it and ran away in the end. Plenty to like but some key areas to improve."

Chris Maple (Ballarat); "It was a very close contest all day, (and) pleasing for guys to finish off the game well - just reward for a big pre-season. The Marsh were strong in the contest, our field and goal kicking let us down. Still plenty to work on in all phases of the game."




Lake Wendouree


Sebastopol essentially did what they had to do on their way to an 80-point win over Lake Wendouree at Marty Busch Reserve.

Popular Burras utility Luke Kiel headed a list of nine contributors on the major front finishing with four goals after making a safe return from a leg issue.

While there were no real great surprises to come out of the game, new Burra coach Tony Lockyer ensured his boys were ready for their next footy audit with a Round 2 clash against their nemesis Melton, a side they haven't beaten since the 2019 Preliminary Final.

As for the morale boosting win over the Lakers, KIel was named among the best alongside familiar names Riley O'Keefe, Jack Bambury and Jed Hill. Newcomer Ruckman Rhys McNay was named best.

For the Lakers under new coach Rohan Brown promising youngsters Bailey Ryan, Bailey Thompson (3 goals) and Timmy Collins featured prominently as they did a number of times last year.

In fact, Thompson was the Lakers leading goalkicker in 2023 averaging more than a goal per game.

The Lakers are at home this Saturday and will look to catch Bacchus Marsh on the hop after they fell short of Ballarat in an entertaining season opener.


Tony Lockyer (Sebastopol): "Pleased to see the boys get some reward for their dedication over pre-season with a solid performance. Credit to Lakers who had some great patches through the second and third quarters. (We) review our learnings and move onto Melton next week."

Rohan Brown (Lake Wendouree): "(I) thought we played some very good football for patches of the game especially (in) the third quarter. (We were) beaten by a very fast and well drilled side. We review, recover and look forward to another challenge this week v Bacchus Marsh."




East Point


Any thoughts of East Point taking it up to the reigning premier and ending a horror run of outs at Darley Park were put to bed early when Dan Jordan's men ran riot in the opening half booting 11 goals to none. Game over.

The Kangas were simply a mile off despite arriving with an encouraging list buoyed with the inclusions of a few Rebels boys and the return of Mickitja Rottumah-Onus to bolster top end stocks alongside proven x-factor talent led by the Johnston boys.

But not even Matty and Jordy could get a sniff of the action as the competition’s best player, and reigning dual Henderson Medalist, Brett Bewley put on a clinic with three first half goals to aid the separation on the scoreboard.

Livewire Darley forwards Will Johnson (four goals) and Brady Wright (three goals) were the inherent beneficiaries of a dominant midfield group that includes Bewley, Luther Baker and Adam Azzopardi who was named best afield.

Utility Billy Myers made it 17 wins from as many starts for the Devils since his return at the beginning of the 2023 season.


Dan Jordan (Darley): "Solid performance from our group. (We) executed our plan from the outset. Good to see some of the things we've been working on over the pre-season to show some benefit. Still plenty to work on as we build into the new season.

Joe Carmody/Jackson Merrett (East Point): "Taking nothing away from Darley, our boys didn't turn up today to play. (We) were comprehensively beaten across the ground in the first half in all facets of the game. Pleasing to see somewhat of a response after half time and our system started to come through in what we displayed."

Melton South


def. by



It was all one-way traffic at Melton Rec Reserve as the Bloods, under new Coach Troy Scoble, made it 11 local derby wins in a row over the struggling Panthers.

The 188-point drubbing was not too dissimilar to the 214-point margin that separated the two in their Round 13 meeting at the same venue last year.

Anyway, enough of the record-breaking numbers, and time to acknowledge some individual effort.

Bloods’ playmaker Braedyn Kight finished with a game high seven goals to feature prominently among the better players alongside Kyle Borg and Ryan Davis who each booted four.

Mobile key forward Liam Carter kicked five goals before he was injured and taken from the ground and is in doubt for next week’s big game against Sebastopol.

Riley and Lachlan Walker were also prominent for the Bloods while Jaycob Hickey wasted little time getting his hands on the footy following his off season return from Diggers Rest.

For the ailing Panthers, big man Brodie Collins was solid and the efforts of newcomer Patrick Veszpremi validated but there is still plenty of work to be done at Melton South.

Another chance presents for Hodgson this week when they prepare to meet his old team Sunbury.

Good luck!


Travis Hodgson (Melton South): "(Our) first quarter was the positive of the day. We looked how we want to look and were in touch against a side that's going to be in the finish this year. (For the remainder) we went away from what we need to be doing and Melton took control - the final margin was reflective of that. Although clearly worlds apart, (I) would've liked to have gotten within 20 goals - so disappointing overall."

Troy Scoble (Melton): "The game was very competitive for the first 10-15 minutes as expected for any Round 1 clash. Once we were able to settle, we were able to be really consistent in all three phases of the game. Today was certainly a step in the right direction with players beginning to have more belief in our system."



def. by



Sunbury were deserving winners over a very young Redan side to the tune of 25 points at City Oval kickstarting new coach Matty White's tenure in fine style.

The Sunbury Lions led at every change and increased their advantage accordingly to lead by 4, 13 and 25 points before a stalemate of sorts prevailed on tiring legs in the last quarter that saw the margin settle on 25 at the final siren - an accurate reflection of where the two teams are at.

Jake Sutton booted five goals for the winners and Pat Scanlon three while evergreen Redan forward Grant Bell finished with a team high four goals, ahead of talented left footer Marty Boyer (two goals).

Sunbury midfielders Mitch Lewis and Josh Guthrie had the ball on a string and accumulated at will to be arguably the highest possession winners on the ground.

Sunbury will look to make it 2-0 when they host Melton South this week. Redan meet Round 1 winners Ballarat. 


Gary Learmonth (Redan): "I thought we had some periods of play where we controlled the game. However, crucial turnovers and discipline cost us in the end!

Matt White (Sunbury): "Really good performance by the boys. Take nothing away from Redan, they challenged us all day. We were able to win the Bottle Shottle in the end.