Round 5 shapes as an important round in A Plus Labour Solutions Division 2 as all eight sides look to go into the representative break on a winning note.
Fitzroy Stars got on the board for the first time in 2018 after a nail-biting one-point win in Round 4 and will look to continue that form when they travel to Eltham Central Park to take on ladder-leader Eltham in the first outing between the two clubs.
After losing their opening three games by an average of 99 points, the Stars trailed at every major break in their clash with the Blues last Saturday. But they never gave in and despite an inaccurate final term, which saw them boot 5.8 to 5.0, they were still able to get over the line.
A three-goal haul from John Hayes and major contributions from Steven Stallion, Chris Hall and Hedley Smith helped the Stars in their last-gasp win, as they finally opened their 2018 account. The win was sealed with a last-minute goal to Shawn Wilkey.
For the Panthers, things went a lot smoother as they accounted for Watsonia to the tune of 67 points at A.K. Lines Reserve to record their fifth-successive win.
Star recruit Brent Macaffer had his best game of the season and was aided by strong performances by Brandon Freeman – who kicked five goals to make it a dozen in two weeks – as well as four-goal hauls to Bradyn Taglieri and Thomas Carafa.
Lower Plenty remains the competition’s second unbeaten team and will be looking to score its fifth-consecutive win when it hosts Epping at Montmorency Park South Oval.
Lower made a strong start against Diamond Creek last week but were made to work extremely hard for a gripping win. Ahead by 18 points at three-quarter time, they were forced to come from behind, with Corey Sleep’s late goal securing a three-point victory.
Patrick Flynn was superb for Lower in their nail-biting win, while a four-goal contribution from Ben Paterson was also a major factor as their side reversed a four-game run of outs against the Demons.
Epping came agonisingly close to securing its second win of the season, leading for the opening three quarters before falling to a loss by the closest possible margin at Sir Douglass Nicholls Oval.
Thomas Emmins had a day out with four majors in his best game at senior level. Leigh Judd was again a standout, whilst youngsters Jake Perry and Jordan Wilkins also had solid outings in the close defeat.
Despite the disappointing finish for the Blues, a win and a one-point loss from the opening four rounds, having played three of the top-four sides, shows the club is tracking well in its return to second division.
Watsonia hosts Banyule in a twilight encounter at A.K. Lines Reserve. Banyule was a 78-point winner in the Round 1 outing between the two sides.
The Saints were competitive early in their match against Eltham last weekend, trailing by just 21 points at half time. However, the Panthers gradually stretched their advantage with a 10-goal to three second half.
Rick Kimberley and Kelby White were the shining lights for the Saints, while the club’s eight goals were shared by eight individual goal kickers, which included a goal to Cooper Gunn in his first senior game.
Banyule showed true grit to secure a crucial five-point win over Thomastown at R.J. Brockwell Oval. Trailing by five goals and limited to one fit player on the bench, the home side rallied, with a last-ditch goal to Mannon Johnston securing the four points.
Strong performances by Johnston, Daniel Kelly, Devin McDonald and a three-goal haul from James Kroussoratis were crucial to lifting their side to victory – helping to push Pete Davey’s side one-game clear in fourth spot.
Thomastown and Diamond Creek will be looking to bounce back from tight losses when they meet at Main Street Reserve.
Thomastown looked in complete control early in the third term last week but couldn’t hold out a fast-finishing Banyule. A win would have pushed Ben Chapman’s side inside the top-four after a month of football.
Dylan Chapman continued his stellar season with another brilliant display, Adrian Natoli won plenty of the ball, while Shannon Ball and Anthony Capeci each booted three goals.
Diamond Creek suffered just their second loss of the season, as they went down by three points to Lower Plenty. The loss leaves last year’s runner-up one-game outside the top-two.
Poor disposal during the first half allowed the home side to open a big lead – one the Creekers couldn’t peg back despite a very strong second half. Jacob Booth, Jess Cosaitis and Ryan Pingree each kicked three goals, while Oliver Parks played his best game of the year.