Diamond Creek claimed its biggest scalp of the season with a 36-point win against Eltham at Eltham Central Park.
The 11.8 (74) to 5.8 (38) triumph now has Diamond Creek sitting only two points outside the A Plus Labour Solutions Division 2 top-four after 12 rounds.
The loss saw Eltham slip to third spot, one win and percentage behind second-placed Whittlesea with six rounds remaining.
Jacob Booth was Diamond Creek’s best in the victory, dominating at the stoppages with his clearance work, as well as kicking three majors – including a 60-metre bomb.
Ryan Pingree also played an outstanding game in the forward line, kicking three majors to boost his side.
James Marchbank had the tough task of playing on Eltham key forward Michael Still and held him to one goal. Marchbank was regularly able to spoil the ball in marking contests and played a pivotal role in Diamond Creek’s win.
Despite the result, Gavan Connelly continued his stellar form and was the Panthers’ best player for the third week in a row. Connelly played the majority of the game in the midfield and was everywhere for his side, showing off his classy skills in tough conditions.
Sean Desmond returned to the Panthers side and repaid the faith, taking strong marks up the ground, applying great pressure and playing with great composure. Desmond displayed all the traits his coaches would be looking for in a small forward.
Young gun Nick Reibelt continued his outstanding start to his senior career. Reibelt kicked a goal, assisted multiple others and showed off his run and carry ability all day.
Reibelt has now been named in the Panthers’ best players four times in his first five games and looks an important part of Eltham’s’ future.
Diamond Creek got off to a fantastic start and kicked the opening three goals of the match, which guided them to a 13-point lead at the first break.
Eltham started to work its way into the game in the second quarter, dominating play for the majority of the quarter.
The ball spent most of the quarter in Eltham’s forward half, but the Panthers were unable to make the most of their forward entries, turning the ball over more than they would have liked.
Tensions started to boil over late in the quarter, with Diamond Creek taking a four-point lead into half time.
The game looked set for an interesting and physical second half.
Diamond Creek came out firing in the third quarter, kicking the opening three goals of the term via Ryan Pingree, Michael Rogneda and Jai Norman.
The Creekers finished the term with five goals to two, taking them to a 26-point lead at three quarter time and ultimately putting them in control of the game.
In the fourth quarter it started to rain heavily, as well as being windy, which made it even tougher for the home side to make a comeback.
Diamond Creek relished the heavier conditions and booted the only two goals of the final term to finish with a 36-point victory.
Final score: Eltham 5.8 (38) def by Diamond Creek 11.8 (74)
Best Players: G. Connelly, S. Desmond, B. Macaffer, N. Reibelt, D. Vallance, B. Glasgow
Goal Kickers: B. Freeman, M. Cantwell, M. Williamson, N. Reibelt, M. Still
Best Players: J. Booth, R. Pingree, C. Moloney, B. Adams, J. Marchbank, M. Lewis
Goal Kickers: R. Pingree 3, J. Booth 3, M. Wild, B. Adams, L. Coe, M. Rogneda, J. Norman