Banyule has broken through to become the first team in A Plus Labour Solutions Division 2 to topple ladder-leading Eltham.
The Bears fell short by one point the last time the two sides met back in Round 10, but this time around a dominant second half saw them prevail 14.7 (91) to 9.9 (63) at Eltham Central win.
The result moved Banyule one step closer to securing a place in this year’s finals series. The reigning Division 2 premiers sit in third place, one win and 16 percent clear of fifth-placed Diamond Creek. One win in the final two rounds should secure a top-four finish.
Banyule was led by a six-goal haul from former Panther James Kroussoratis, with great support from Riley Keath, Bailey Jordan and Daniel Camilleri. Eltham’s best in defeat were returning midfielder Anton Woods, Paul Currie and Matthew Keys.
The momentum was all Eltham’s early on. The Panthers booted the opening three goals of the match but conceded two late goals to take just a six-point advantage into the quarter time break.
Eltham again started the second term the better. with a wealth of inside 50s. However, the home side failed to capitalise, and James Kroussoratis made them pay, kicking his second of the match to level the scores.
A costly error in defence from Tom Evans saw Jacob Smith capitalise to give Banyule its first lead of the game by a margin of five points
The Panthers were able to hit back with two of their own through Adam Brovedani and Daniel Jarvis to regain the lead, but a goal after the half-time siren to Kroussoratis ensured both sides would be locked at 5.3 (33) apiece at the main break.
Banyule began the second half the better, as goals to Michael Italia and Kroussoratis saw the visitor hold an 11-point advantage early in the third term.
Bronson Glasgow kicked a brilliant crumbing goal to hit back for the home side, but it did little to halt Banyule’s charge, as Kroussoratis’ fourth goal as well as a major to Riley Keath gave the Bears a 15-point lead at the final break.
With all the momentum going the way of the away side, Italia kicked his third of the game to continue the wave for his side and extend their lead to 21 points.
Daniel Jarvis replied for Eltham to peg the margin back, but goals to Sean Downes and Kroussoratis quickly saw the lead blow out to a match-high 27 points.
Bronson Glasgow kept the Panthers’ hopes alive with a goal at the other end, but the match was sealed when Matthew Yarwood and Bailey Jordan got in on the action for Banyule with their first goals of the day.
A late Paul Currie consolation goal did nothing but reduce the final margin, as Eltham succumbed to its first loss of the season – ending its 15-match winning streak.
Eltham travels away to tackle a hungry Diamond Creek in Round 17, while the Bears return home to host Fitzroy Stars – where a win could secure a finals berth.
Final score: Eltham 9.9 (63) def by Banyule 14.7 (91)