Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 Preview – Round 14

Published on Thursday, July 11, 2024

Author : Doug Long

With five rounds to go in Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 football, there is a plethora of permutations facing teams as they fight to secure a top five finish.

Round 13 saw some teams improve their chances of ending the regular season in the top half of the ladder, while others may need to step their game if they are to feature at Whittlesea in just over a month’s time.

Kinglake hosted Epping at Kinglake Memorial Oval, with the Lakers going within a kick of consecutive wins against finals hopefuls, as the Blues prevailed in a nail-biter by six points.

Brad Hollow’s men were happy to grab the four points in a danger game, with Daniel Rakhlin impressing up forward with four goals in a low-scoring affair.

“We felt like we were right with them for the majority of the day, however Epping kicked some big goals at crucial moments and in the end we couldn’t respond,” Kinglake coach Dave Florance said.

Florance loved the ball use of Shane Harvey across half back, meanwhile teammate Bailey Robinson was outstanding in the middle again and Cory Shenholds was solid in defence.

Ivanhoe played Heidelberg West at Ivanhoe Park, and the Hoers scored 149 points in a huge 115-point victory.

“Really proud of the team to get off to a strong start and maintain our energy and effort for four quarters,” Ivanhoe coach Wayne Schultz said.

Scott Selwood led the way, while Schultz also praised Marcel Moran and Aaron Marks. The Hawks were best served by Max Brown.

In a crucial game, Mernda welcomed Old Eltham Collegians to Waterview Recreation Reserve. The Turtles offered stout resistance and led by 15 points at the last change, before the Demons controlled the final term, and ran away to win by 17 points.

It must feel like Groundhog Day for Matthew Sleeman’s men, who have now lost six in a row despite not falling short by any greater than three goals in that time span. Benjamin Gill was rewarded for booting 36 goals in the reserves to date with a promotion to the senior’s and slotted three majors.

William Crouch had his best return for the season for Mernda with four goals while Joshua Mazzarella was again pivotal in the side’s win.

Fitzroy Stars and Old Paradians faced off at Sir Douglas Nicholls Oval, with the Stars dominating much of the match to claim the NAIDOC Cup in a convincing 53-point triumph.

Tyson Pickett and Patrick Farrant both hit the scoreboard with four apiece, while consistent performer Allan Norris won the Esme Bamblett medal.

Sam Gilmore and Kyle O’Sullivan did their best to stem the tide for Ben Turner’s men, but were unable to prevent the team’s heaviest defeat in the NFNL since coming across earlier this year.

A huge highlight saw Reservoir claim their maiden victory in 2024 after overcoming Lalor at Crispe Park to the tune of 31 points.

But it wasn’t a smooth ride for Mustangs fans on the day, as Lance Whitnall’s men led three goals to one early before Reservoir went on a scoring spree to take a 44-point advantage into half time.

Although that looked to be a match-winning lead, the Bloods dominated after the main break and reduced the margin to a mere 10 points early in the last term. But Rohan Davies’ men then steadied to put the game away.

Lalor still retain tenth spot on the ladder, while Reservoir is now just one game adrift of the Bloods.

Up the other end of the table, three teams in the Fitzroy Stars, Mernda and Old Paradians share top billing on nine wins, with the Stars having a game in hand.

Just four points behind is Ivanhoe and Epping. The Blues dropped from fourth to fifth despite their victory due to the big margin of victory by the Hoers.

There is now a gap of two wins back to Kilmore and Old Eltham Collegians in sixth and seventh place respectively, and although Kilmore has a game in hand on all the other teams vying for the elimination final, there is little margin for error for the Blues and the Turtles in the run home.

Round 14 presents some chances for teams to consolidate their spots in the top five, while others will be pressing hard to force their way into finals contention.

Kilmore is one team just outside of the top five and will need to defeat some higher ranked teams to get in. They have their chance this weekend coming off the bye when travelling to Garvey Oval to take on Old Paradians.

Back in Round 4, the Blues pulled off a big upset when bouncing back from a shock loss to Lalor the week prior, as they went on to down the Raiders by 26 points at J.J. Clancy Reserve.

This time Paul Derrick’s men will be looking to get the win away from home and will probably be underdogs again this weekend.

While this is a key game for Kilmore, the same can be said for Old Paradians. Ben Turner’s men find themselves with a chance to grab top spot if they keep winning. But they also need some victories to avoid dropping out of the double chance race.

Reservoir will look to continue winning ways when clashing with Heidelberg West at Heidelberg Park.

The Hawks would’ve been hot favourites to win this contest had it been played a month ago, but after the Mustangs lost narrowly to Ivanhoe two weeks ago and then defeated the Bloods last week, Rohan Davies’ men will be confident of claiming back-to-back triumphs.

Dale Mayne’s men recorded a handy win over Lalor since the bye, but that game was surrounded by sizable losses to teams challenging for finals berths. It makes for fascinating viewing for fans of both teams.

Lalor hosts the Fitzroy Stars at Lalor Reserve.  With these teams at opposite ends of the ladder and the Stars playing like a premiership threat of late, it’s hard to see this one being close.

Of course, it’s a must-win game for Lionel Proctor’s men as they aim to firm up their grip on top spot.

Meanwhile, the Bloods would like to show more than in their loss to Reservoir last week and may need another win to avoid the wooden spoon.

Their fans will recall the Round 10 fixture at this venue last season where the home team almost caused a huge upset before going down to the Stars by a mere three points.

Kinglake plays Mernda at Kinglake Memorial Park.

Since the mid-season break, the Lakers have been scheduled to play five finals hopefuls and this is the last such challenge prior to next week’s bye.

While being underdogs in all five, Kinglake upset the Turtles at Eltham College two weeks ago and then pushed Epping all the way on their home deck last weekend.  Those results will give their fans hope that they can knock off a premiership threat this weekend.

The Demons will be looking to bank a win here and head to their Round 15 clash with the Fitzroy Stars close enough to be able to grab first place on the table.

A game with huge implications sees Epping travel to Eltham College to play Old Eltham Collegians.

As recently as the mid-season break, the Blues were struggling in sixth place while the Turtles were third and level on points with the Stars.

Since then, Epping has been undefeated, while Old Eltham Collegians have lost four straight matches. This had flipped the ladder scenario, with the Turtles in seventh spot and facing a do-or-die game to keep in touch with the five.

Epping has not completely locked away a finals position, but a win here would go a long way to doing so. The Blues lost narrowly to Old Eltham Collegians at Epping Recreational Reserve back in Round 2 and based purely on that result, a tight tussle is anticipated.

The Turtles will need to find a bit extra to get over the line in this one, and with experienced players such as Sean Leersen and Niall McDonagh returning last week, their fans will believe that they can turn the season around.

But it will need to start now if they are to avoid falling further behind the top five.

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