North Heidelberg secured a top-three position for the second-consecutive year in Meadows Greyhounds Division 1 after an 18-point win over Montmorency at Shelley Reserve.
After managing just one goal in the first half, the Bulldogs kicked five goals to one after half time to run away with a 6.13 (49) to 4.7 (31) victory.
The win secured third spot on the ladder for North Heidelberg, sitting 10 points clear of fourth-placed West Preston-Lakeside but also 10 points behind second-placed Heidelberg with two rounds remaining.
Montmorency sits two points outside the top-five. This week’s clash against fifth-placed Macleod – the former club of coach Garry Ramsay – becomes vital, with the winner presumably qualifying for finals.
After a slow start, Shane Harvey’s two-second half goals were pivotal to the Bulldogs’ victory, while Michael Florance’s ruck work and Daniel Harris’ midfield efforts were also important in getting their side across the line.
Jai Robinson and Jesse Donaldson were among the best players for the visitors, while Billy Jenkin and Blake Murphy were also impressive around the ground.
On a cold, wet but sunny day, it was obvious from the start that goals would be hard to come by.
Both sides had limited opportunities to convert majors, but the Bulldogs had most of the ball late in the quarter and created several late chances.
Jhye Baddeley-Kelly kicked his set shot out of bounds with a minute left on the clock, before Brent Harvey sprayed his set shot on the siren as the home side went in to quarter time trailing 0.1 to 0.3.
It was all Montmorency in the second quarter, with Ben Walton’s major five minutes into the second term finally bringing the first goal of the afternoon.
The momentum swung well and truly in the Magpies favour as the term went on, with goals from Riley Howe and Patrick Fitzgerald extending the lead to over three goals halfway into the quarter.
North Heidelberg slowly got the game back on its terms as time on approached and ¬a great passage of play was rewarded with a Shane Harvey goal, reducing the deficit to 15 points heading into half time.
The home side started the third quarter as they ended the second, full of momentum.
Successive goals from Luke Dowdle and Jarrod Fitzpatrick brought the scores level just seven minutes into the term.
Montmorency was losing touch and several missed shots at goal didn’t help their cause – denying them the chance to halt the Bulldogs’ charge.
Billy Hogan kicked a brilliant snap to give North Heidelberg back the lead late in the term and despite another missed shot on goal to Brent Harvey, the Bulldogs led by seven points at three quarter time.
In his three-quarter time address, Montmorency coach Garry Ramsey asked his side to be tough at the ball and bring plenty pressure in the final quarter. His demands were met early, with Patrick Fitzgerald converting his set shot one minute in to cut the deficit to one point.
But that’s where the run stopped for the visitors. With heavy rain and even hail setting in, it was North Heidelberg who adapted best to the conditions
Consecutive goals from Shane Harvey and Kieren Jaksic sealed the result and handed North Heidelberg its 10th win of the season.
Final score: North Heidelberg 6.13 (49) def Montmorency 4.7 (31)