Kilmore recorded an impressive 24-point win over Mernda at Waterview Recreation Reserve in Round 2 of Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3.
The win sees the Blues sitting in fourth spot on the ladder. They have now won back to back away games against Mernda.
A dominant 4.2 to 0.1 second term – in which Shane Skidmore booted three majors – set up the 12.11 (83) to 9.5 (59) victory.
Skidmore was ably assisted on the day by Michael McCulloch and Nicholas Zaharakis, who each booted three.
Zaharakis’ first goal was brilliant – dodging an opponent and slotting the first major of the third term from 35 metres out on the boundary.
The goal was significant. Mernda had come out steaming after half time – tackling well and dominating play in the opening minutes without being able to find the big sticks.
Despite the intent of the Mernda team, they lost the term by a goal and the game was out of reach at the last break.
Zaharakis also provided a link between the midfield and deep forwards – often marking in space at half forward and hitting a target inside 50.
A feature of the Blues’ game was the dedication to run and spread to make position further afield. They often transferred play from defensive 50 into attack without a Demon player getting near the ball.
“The boys responded from the previous week’s effort,” a relieved Kilmore coach Nathan Phillips said, with his team going to the Easter break at 1-1. “They fixed their deficiencies and got the win.”
The Blues defence – led by Stephen McIntyre – worked well as a unit. Inside mid Leigh Irons worked well in the clinches, while Bailey Taylor-Egan was effective in the forward line – booting a goal and then hitting Skidmore with a nice pass after taking a speccie.
“We didn’t work hard enough or smart enough,” Mernda coach Paul Derrick said.Derrick made numerous moves at the main break. By then, he had already lost Michael Ferraro and Josh Delaney for the day.
Matthew Campbell was swung from defence to attack – as was first gamer Daniel Smith. Both provided targets and each player booted two second half goals. Smith looks like a good prospect.
He was involved in the last passage of play on the day. He baulked around an opponent and shot out a handpass to Tyson Sparkes who goaled on the siren.
Sparkes was lively on the day and gave the team a lift at times. Michael Aparo battled manfully for the Demons, while youngster Brandyn Burgess performed well on a wing.
Despite the game being sealed up at the last break, the Mernda players deserve credit for winning the final term 5.0 to 3.4, when a big loss looked a distinct possibility.
Mernda sits at 0-2 and faces an uphill battle after losing players such as Les Adams, Rohan Davies, Krys Douglas, Liam Gray, Jesse Owens-Draper, Marcus Saddington and Adrian Stefanile from the 2018 team.
The Demons will be hoping skipper Delaney will be fit for their next match in 12 days’ time, but Ferraro would appear to be missing for an extended period.
Mernda plays Laurimar on ANZAC Day at Laurimar Reserve and will be looking to cause an upset to keep in touch with the top-four.
Kilmore gets a 14-day break until its next clash – against Old Eltham Collegians at Eltham College. A win will establish their spot in the top-four.
Final score: Mernda 9.5 (59) def by Kilmore 12.11 (83)