Horsham District falls to Heathcote in under-17 interleague

BIG EFFORT: Angus Martin, left, captained Horsham and was the team's best on Saturday, but couldn't prevent an 84-point loss to Heathcote. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

BIG EFFORT: Angus Martin, left, captained Horsham and was the team's best on Saturday, but couldn't prevent an 84-point loss to Heathcote. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

SATURDAY'S under-17 interleague clash between Horsham District Football Netball League and Heathcote District Football League could be described in one word: outclassed.

Unfortunately for the home side, Heathcote was too big, strong, quick and skilful in an 84-point win at Horsham City Oval.

It was not all doom and gloom, however, from the opening bounce for Horsham.

Heathcote undeniably had the better of the first quarter but did not capitalise on the scoreboard.

The blue and gold-clad visitors booted an extremely wasteful 1.9 in the first term, while an accurate 4.3 from Horsham gave it a two-goal advantage at quarter time.

Perhaps stung by their errant performance, the Heathcote players set about making amends in the second quarter.

A nine-goal blitz turned the two-goal deficit into a six-goal advantage by half time, and the match was clearly slipping away from Horsham.

Heathcote had bigger bodies and used height to its advantage, but were far from top heavy.

The visitors were able to put pressure on the Horsham defence, turning the ball over across the centre and half-back line and generating multiple forward 50 entries.

Horsham was unable to establish its running game for most of the match, but Heathcote linked up well with handballs and overlap run all day.

The home side lifted in the third term to boot four goals to Heathcote's seven, and kept the margin within 100 points at the final siren.

District league coach Heath Francis said it was a tough day for every player on the team, but they never gave up.

"We never threw in the towel at any stage," he said. "They had a pretty devastating second quarter which blew the game apart, but our boys kept at it and played a decent second half."

Horsham captain Angus Martin received one of two Victorian Country Football League medals as the best player on his team. Jackson McEwen won the same award for Heathcote.

Alex Ridsdale tried to lift the Horsham midfield and was one of the team's best.

Joe Harrison drifted forward to kick three goals, and forward flanker Ollie Gabbe also chimed in with three.

There was a feast of goal-kickers on the Heathcote side, with Wade Bonham and Joshua Formosa, four goals each, among 11 players to hit the scoreboard.

Heathcote coach Matt Hawken said his side trained together for more than a month and came prepared.

"I've been coaching the boys here for five years and this is the best group we've had," he said.

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