North Heidelberg further strengthened its premiership claims with a runaway 82-point win over Northcote Park in Round 5 of Meadows Greyhounds Division 1.
A week after downing fellow contender Heidelberg, the Bulldogs ran rampant against the previously unbeaten Cougars to record a 16.10 (106) to 3.6 (24) win at Bill Lawry Oval.
A dour struggle for close to three quarters, the Bulldogs piled on 13 goals to one from the 22-minute of the third term to storm to a percentage-boosting win.
The heavy defeat was further soured for Northcote Park by what looked a serious groin injury to Jackson Starvevich.
The star forward limped from the field late in the second quarter and took no further part in the game. It was a cruel blow for the Cougars, who were already without fellow key talls Ash Close and Kyle Galloway.
Despite the potency of both sides forward lines, just five goals were kicked to time-on of the third quarter. This was due to great pressure on the ball carrier from both sides, while both defences stood up well.
Mitch Dillon sustained his great form since switching to defence and was a key performer in North Heidelberg’s big win. Dillon regularly intercepted Northcote Park kicks into attack and teamed up well with Nicholas Matthews in the first half to double-team Starcevich.
Liam Nunan also continued his good month of football and provided a hard edge at the football, while Daniel Harris found plenty of the ball through defence and midfield and again showed he will be a vital pick-up for the Bulldogs in their tilt for finals success.
Billy Hogan put in another strong performance and finished with three goals, while Shane Harvey’s six majors included four in the final term. Jhye Baddeley-Kellly also hit the scoreboard and finished with three goals.
Nick Carter toiled hard for Northcote Park across half back in a tough day for his side, while Jordan Perry was a major ball winner and kicked the game’s best goal when he worked through traffic and kicked truly from 40m on the boundary line.
That goal, at the 15-minute mark of the third term, was the Cougars’ first since Starcevich kicked the game’s opening goal in the fifth minute of the match.
Despite the drought between majors, Perry’s goal reduced the home side’s deficit to just 10 points and offered a glimmer of hope. The Cougars’ cause had earlier been aided by North Heidelberg hitting the post three times across the second and third quarters.
The game was broken open by three North Heidelberg goals in the final five minutes of the third term from Shane Harvey (six goals), Shane Biggs and Baddeley-Kelly, which gave the Bulldogs a commanding 29-point lead at three-quarter time.
The Bulldogs went on with the job in the final term, blowing the lead out to 52 points, with the opening four goals of the quarter before Mahmoud El-Achkar kicked a much-needed goal for Northcote Park in his first game for the club.
However, North Heidelberg showed its ruthless streak and piled on six goals in the final 10 minutes to blow the margin out to 82-points to take plenty of momentum into the representative break.
The ten-goal final term helped North Heidelberg leapfrog Northcote Park on the ladder by percentage, with the Bulldogs sitting third and the Cougars fourth heading into the week off.
Final score: Northcote Park 3.6 (24) def by North Heidelberg 16.10 (106)
Goal Kickers: J. Starcevich, M. EL-Achkar, J. Perry
Best Players: N. Carter, J. Perry, D. Galofaro, M. Perry, C. Simpson, P. Dirago
Goal Kickers: S. Harvey 6, J. Baddeley-Kelly 3, B. Hogan 3, S. Biggs, J. Jones, K. Green, J. Bulman
Best Players: M. Dillon, L. Nunan, D. Harris, M. Florance, B. Hogan, J. Tardio