A look ahead to Round 13 in Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3.
The battle for fourth-spot took another twist last week, with South Morang and Heidelberg West both claiming their sixth wins, while Mernda’s four-game winning streak came to an end.
Heidelberg West snapped a five-game losing run in beating bottom-placed Reservoir at Heidelberg Park. The Hawks led from go to whoa in the 112-point win, with Kyl Ewart booting five goals and coach Cam van Florestein three in the demolition job.
“Good to get that winning feeling again,” van Florestein said. “Now we have to back it up again this week against Old Eltham Collegians – which will be a big challenge.”
Van Florestein liked the work of Zac Tranter and Ryan Offer down back, while Matt Reinke gave good service up forward with two goals.
Daniel Sebeh impressed for Reservoir, kicking two majors, while Mitch Hawkins was named best and also slotted a goal.
South Morang had to fight tooth and nail when it last played Lalor back in Round 6 at Mill Park Lakes Reserve in a six-point result. This time at Lalor Reserve, the Lions sealed the game with a 7.9 to 0.2 second term for a 61-point lead.
A triple-digit win looked on the cards, but the Bloods limited the damage after the main break and went down by 86 points. They now have a bye then play Reservoir in Round 14 at Lalor Reserve.
Lachlan Golledge, Tye Hall and Alex Colaidis all kicked four majors for South Morang. Liam Failla and Ben Muscat controlled things down back.
“The boys knew the importance of winning and we wanted to put the game to bed by half time – which we did,” South Morang coach Gary Hall said. “We had no injuries and it was a good team effort leading into the Panton Hill game.”
Ben Curtiss is having a stellar season for Lalor and was best again, while Daniel Langborne continued his good form. Michael Jacobson kicked two goals.
Mernda hoped for an upset win when hosting Panton Hill at Waterview Recreation Reserve. But the Redbacks returned to second place on the ladder with an impressive 66-point win.
Rhys Boyden booted six goals to take a stranglehold on the goal kicking ladder with 51 goals. Teammate Matthew Byron moved into second place on the weekend on 35. Alex Tsardakis came back into the line-up and booted four goals, while Brent Ryan led a miserly defence.
The Demons’ winning run of four came to an end and were outplayed in all aspects of the game. Anthony Niglia was their best, while Anthony Bradford and Brad Dimech were industrious through the middle. Tyler Peirce finished with two goals.
Laurimar trailed at every change against Old Eltham Collegians, but turned an 18-point three quarter time deficit into a win with a five-goal to nil final term to grab a 12-point win and avoid an upset loss.
“We were outplayed on the day but sometimes you have to find a way to win and we did that when it counted,” Laurimar coach Justin Sherman said.
The win encapsulates the Power’s season in a way – finding ways to get over the line. They have now won four games by two kicks or less in their 11-0 start to the season.
Tim Woods, Corey Ray and Jessie Howell continued their good form in the middle for Old Eltham Collegians and gave their team every chance to win.
The Turtles had two 17-year-olds in Jayco Keepa and Konnor Adam playing great roles up forward – supporting Kieran Malone who was superb and slotted five majors. When Eden Simpson booted two fantastic goals in the third term a major upset looked on the cards.
“It was a fantastic effort by the boys, and we were disappointed not to pinch the win,” Old Eltham Collegians coach John Garrard said.
Laurimar sits atop the ladder – three games clear of Panton Hill and Kilmore, with each team having a game in hand on the Power. The Blues will have to win an extra game than the Redbacks in order to claim second spot due to a large percentage gap.
The battle for fourth is intense with South Morang on 26 points, Heidelberg West on 24 and Mernda on 20. The Lions have to play the top-three teams in the run home, as well as Old Eltham Collegians and Reservoir. Percentage will not matter to them unless another draw occurs.
The Hawks also play the top-three teams in the run home, plus Old Eltham Collegians and Lalor. It is probable that they will need at least one upset win to play finals.
Mernda has the easiest run home but has the most ground to make up. The Demons play the bottom-three teams in the run home, as well as Laurimar and Kilmore. Like the Hawks, the Demons will probably need to snag an upset win to play finals.
To make matters more difficult for the Demons, the results on Saturday means that they are now 17 percentage points adrift of the Hawks.
The bottom-three spots look unlikely to change – with Old Eltham Collegians leading Lalor by a game and a half, with Reservoir a game and percentage behind the Bloods.
Round 13 sees some challenges large and small for teams fighting to play finals football.
Mernda travels to Crispe Park to take on Reservoir in a must-win game. The Demons will be hot favourites to return to the winners’ list against the bottom-placed Mustangs and build their percentage.
They defeated Reservoir by 118 points at Waterview Recreation Reserve in Round 4 to get their season off to a start. But the Mustangs will be desperate to break their duck this season and will be with a new coach after parting ways with David Nelson earlier this week.
At the present, senior assistant coach Peter Bartle and reserves coach Ben Noy will work together as interim coaches.
Heidelberg West travels for the first time to Eltham College to tackle Old Eltham Collegians. Tipsters could view this match in two ways.
Firstly, the Turtles went close to becoming the first team this season to beat Laurimar in last week’s match at Laurimar Reserve. That’s excellent form for this contest and the Turtles are definitely on the up.
Secondly, the Hawks will feel an enormous release of pressure after snapping a five-game losing streak and may be able to play with the flair that saw them win five-straight to start the season.
The Hawks cannot afford to drop this one as they might find themselves too far back later in the season. They did win the first outing between the teams by 40 points at Heidelberg Park. Billy Wright played a blinder that afternoon and booted five majors.
South Morang can stave off the challengers for fourth spot with a win over Panton Hill at Mill Park Lakes Reserve.
It will be a huge task for the Lions based on their Round 2 defeat to the tune of 124 points at A.E. Cracknell Reserve. However, a healthier list now and the home ground advantage will give them some hope of causing an upset.
Both teams were very impressive last weekend and they’re playing for high stakes. The Lions could lose fourth or the Redbacks lose second spot – depending on other results.
The match of the day sees Kilmore – coming off the bye – facing off against Laurimar at J.J. Clancy Reserve in a three versus one clash.
The Power won the earlier battle between these teams at Laurimar Reserve by 36 points in Round 6 when Josh Williamson broke loose and booted six. Williamson hasn’t played since Round 10 and Power fans will hope he can return in the lead up to finals.
The Blues are undefeated in five matches since that clash – including a win over Panton Hill at this ground in Round 8, when they held the Redbacks to a mere three goals.
Mitchell Thompson (64) and Chris Ryall (49) lead the Coaches MVP votes currently and it would be great if these two were to go head to head.
Based on wins and losses alone, Laurimar would be favoured. But the percentages of the sides (174 for Laurimar and 168 for Kilmore) – plus the home ground advantage for the Blues – suggest that this contest has the potential to go right down to the wire.