The top-two teams will go to battle as they headline an exciting Round 8 in A Plus Labour Solutions Division 2.
Eltham and Lower Plenty finally meet in the top-of-the-table clash with both sides eager to maintain their unbeaten records.
Eltham was workman-like in its win over Thomastown in Round 7, leading at every break to record a 45-point win. Eltham only held a 13-point advantage at quarter-time, but a five-goal to one second term set up the big win.
Michael Still was influential up forward with his six-goal haul, with strong contributions from Lewis Glasgow, Matthew Keys and Tom Rogers. Brandon Freeman also chimed in with three to increase his season tally to a team-high 21 – the third most in the competition.
Lower Plenty had to come back from an early deficit and despite extremely inaccurate kicking in front of goal were still able to defeat the Fitzroy Stars by 30 points at Montmorency Park.
Lower was down by nine points at quarter-time and held just a one-point advantage at the main break. But they went on to add 7.20 in the second half to the Stars’ 5.3, to claim a seventh-straight win, despite the absence of Patty Flynn.
Ciaran Porter and Tyler Wallace were the best for Lower, whilst Darcy Barden had a significant contribution with his bag of four goals.
Diamond Creek and Banyule face off in the second top-four clash of the round, with both sides looking to cement their places inside the top half of the ladder.
The heavily-depleted Creekers battled hard in their 14-point victory over Watsonia in Round 7, coming back from a quarter-time deficit to end a three-game losing streak.
After two goalless weeks, Jess Cosaitis returned to form up forward, ensuring he remained atop the leading goal kickers list with a five-goal haul, bringing his season tally to 26 goals. Jai Norman and Daniel Shallard led from the front for Diamond Creek.
Banyule found the going a little easier in Round 7, responding from a disappointing loss to Lower Plenty with a convincing 48-point win over Epping.
Playing deep forward for the first time this year, James Kroussoratis kicked a season-high six goals to be one of only three players in the competition to kick 20 or more goals for the season.
Skipper Scott Gumbleton returned to the ruck and received best-on-ground honours while also chiming in with three goals. Riley Keath’s contribution also didn’t go unnoticed as he featured amongst the best yet again, along with Riley Hogarth.
The Bears look set to be bolstered by the return of Brent Stanton this weekend, with the former Essendon midfielder likely to play his first game since Round 2.
Thomastown will be looking to keep in touch with the top-four when it hosts Watsonia.
Thomastown came up short in its clash against Eltham in Round 7, with a competitive first quarter proving to be unsustainable across four quarters in the 43-point loss. It was however an improved showing on their 63-point loss to the Panthers in Round 3.
Robert Chadwick was the only multiple goal kicker for Thomastown, while it was star players Matthew Vasilevski, Josh Beare and Dylan Chapman who again stood up against the ladder-leader.
Despite falling to a seventh-straight loss, Watsonia produced its best showing of the season in its 14-point loss to Diamond Creek – winning two quarters and looking every bit a winning chance for most of the game.
Daniel Watson, Matthew Gibbs and Matthew Crompton were the best for the Saints in an encouraging performance, whilst Allan Young made it consecutive three-goal hauls – with the key forward particularly damaging early.
Epping and Fitzroy Stars will be eager to bounce back from losses when they meet at Epping Recreation Reserve.
You can expect it to go down to the wire if you take their last encounter as a reference, where the Stars prevailed by one-point for their sole win of 2018.
Epping produced its worst performance of the year in Round 7. Trailing by 16 points at half time, the Blues were outscored five-goals to one in the third term before losing by 48 points against an opponent it beat earlier in the year.
Damon Marcon backed up his six-goal haul the week prior with a bag of four, whilst Dallyce Taylor, Alec Buchan and Jake Perry also featured amongst the best in the disappointing loss.
Heavily undermanned, Fitzroy gave Lower Plenty a real scare in the first half of their match in Round 7, with an upset on the cards in the first half. Despite slipping in the second half, it was a marked improvement on the 110-point hiding the Stars copped in Round 3.
John Hayes was a standout with fie majors, which included some miraculous goals, to become the first Stars player to kick more than 10 goals this season.
Steven Stallion, Shawn Wilkey and Joshua Calyun also played well in an encouraging display for their side.