TAKING CHARGE: Panthers' Xavier Mason grabs possession in the AFL Capricornia clash against BITS at the Rockhampton Cricket Ground on Saturday.
TAKING CHARGE: Panthers' Xavier Mason grabs possession in the AFL Capricornia clash against BITS at the Rockhampton Cricket Ground on Saturday. Allan Reinikka ROK250519aafl3

Slow-starting Panthers surge to 51-point win

AFL: The AFLC Frenchville Sports Club Premiership starts to take shape as the teams enter the mid-point of the season and all wins become vital for their opportunity to stake a claim in this year's finals series.

At the Rockhampton Cricket Ground, the Rockhampton Panthers and the BITS Saints lined up for an opportunity to take a firm grip on second place.

Despite both teams missing a few key players, from the first bounce it was clear that the stakes were high.

The first quarter was high intensity as both sides were out to stake claims early in the match. Although both sides had scoring opportunities, it was the visitors that made the most of them and they shot out of the blocks with a 20-point lead at the first break.

The Panthers knew they were right in this game and that was the message from coach Michael Kreun at the first break.

"BITS really came out of the blocks at the start of the game and we were a little bit sluggish and we knew that we had to rectify that,” he said.

His team responded and the intensity lifted in the second term but couldn't put that pressure back on the scoreboard until Travis Young kicked true for the first goal of the quarter midway through the term.

AFL: Panthers Sam Pierpoint.
AFL: Panthers Sam Pierpoint. Allan Reinikka ROK250519aafl7

From that point on the Panthers were methodical in their approach as they gradually took back the ascendency.

When Sam Gudgeon put one through right on the half-time siren, the Panthers had kicked four unanswered goals for the term and took an 11-point lead into the main break.

In the second half, the Panthers continued to gain momentum, allowing the visitors only one goal and the coach credited Hayden Thomas, who usually plays in the ruck, for the efforts that he put in through the backline.

Travis Young and Sam Gudgeon both finished with three majors to ensure that the Panthers ended the match with a comfortable 50-point win and the coach really praised the work of his team to be able to regroup and the work through the middle of the ground.

AFL: BITS Danny Conway.
AFL: BITS Danny Conway. Allan Reinikka ROK250519aafl5

"To come back and dominate three quarters like that, to be able to regroup and set up defence early and to really tear them apart in the middle, I was really proud how the boys went about their business,” Kreun said.

"Jaxson Pringle around the ground took a tonne of marks as a midfielder and that was sensational.”

In other matches around the region, the Yeppoon Swans relished being back on home turf and they showed no mercy on a Kangaroos outfit that simply had no answers.

The Swans' attack on the ball was ruthless and they didn't take their foot off the pedal until the final siren.

Alex Chapman finished with 14 goals and combined with Tom Cossens, who kicked six, to score almost half of the team's final tally.

For the Glenmore Bulls, their challenge to rebuild became even more challenging as they were unable to account for the Gladstone Suns on home turf. It was the first win for the Gladstone team in their new colours and their first in any uniform in two years.

This result sees the clubs with one win apiece against each other in 2019 and makes for an interesting challenge when they meet again later in the year.

RESULTS

  • Men: Yeppoon 44.12-276 d Brothers 2.3-15, Panthers 14.11-95 d BITS 6.8-44, Gladstone 11.9-75 d Glenmore 7.7-49
  • Women: Brothers 8.8-56 d Yeppoon 2.0-12, Panthers 13.10-88 d BITS 1.0-6, Glenmore 13.8-86 d Gladstone 2.1-13


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