A look ahead to Round 9 in Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3, where the competition resumes following the Queen’s Birthday weekend.
Ladder spots have tightened up after Round 8 action that saw a big upset, two huge wins and a first victory for a club.
Old Eltham Collegians notched its inaugural win in the NFNL senior competition with a 44-point triumph over Lalor at Eltham College. The Turtles had been building towards it and went within a whisker at South Morang a few weeks ago when they came away with a draw.
With three goals from both Kieran Malone and debutant Jake Paterson, the Turtles ran away from the Bloods after half time to break the ice in the 12.10 (82) to 5.8 (38) result at Eltham College.
It was a disappointing loss for the Bloods who now drop to eighth on the ladder. Lachie Evans was a standout for them in defence.
Heidelberg West was looking to bounce back from a bad loss to Panton Hill the previous week when playing Laurimar at Laurimar Reserve.
The Hawks led at quarter time but had kicked to the scoring end. The Power grabbed a two-goal lead at half time and were then never headed – going on to an impressive 58-point win.
“A great team effort and everyone contributed,” Laurimar coach Justin Sherman said following the result.
Jake Richards impressed his coach and was voted best. Dallas King booted four majors, while Sherman himself slotted three. The Power will have two weeks off before playing South Morang at Mill Park Lakes Reserve in Round 10.
Heidelberg West has lost back-to-back away games by sizeable margins but remains well in contention in fourth spot after a great start to the season.
Lachlan Reinke was among the best in the loss to Laurimar, while Kyl Ewart kicked two goals to improve his season tally to 20.
South Morang returned from the bye to play Reservoir at Mill Park Lakes Reserve. The Mustangs had done well fresh off the bye the previous week and now it was the Lions’ turn to follow suit.
South Morang led 7.11 to 0.2 at half time and looked better than for most of May – going on to record a percentage-boosting 94-point win.
“It was a good team effort and we had another three first-gamers who played well,” South Morang coach Gary Hall said. “I think the bye definitely helped.”
Tye Hall and Josh Renehan each booted four majors, while Nathan Tassell was named best and also managed a goal.
Ben Mowlam did well up forward for Reservoir – booting all of his side’s three goals. Samuel McDowell was a handy inclusion after missing a few weeks through inury and was named best.
The win was meant to propel the Lions into the top-four – relying on Panton Hill to overcome Kilmore. That was the only bit of bad news for South Morang on the day.
Kilmore made it two from two against Panton Hill at J. J. Clancy Reserve – having also defeated the Redbacks in Round 17 last season.
The Blues kicked with the breeze in the first term and led from start to finish to record a 35-point upset win in a low scoring game.
Remarkably, Panton Hill only managed three goals for the entire match. Matthew Byron (two goals) and Rhys Boyden (goalless) were well held by Michael McCulloch and Stephen McIntyre respectively.
The defensive duo received help from up field with the whole team playing a disciplined brand of football.
“We stuck to the game plan in a four-quarter performance and reaped the rewards,” Kilmore coach Nathan Phillips said.
Chris Ryall continued his good work in the centre of the ground and Peter de Sousa did well at half back.
“Kilmore showed us how to play a disciplined, hard-running brand of football and we couldn’t get momentum at any stage of the game,” Panton Hill coach Steve Layt said.
Nick Parks did well for the Redbacks, and Nathan Hendry continued his good recent form.
The results have left Laurimar three games clear on top of the ladder with an eight from eight record. Three teams are on five wins and all with a game in hand on Laurimar.
Panton Hill remains in second place with five wins courtesy of a healthy percentage of 214. Kilmore has jumped to third place on 148 percent, with Heidelberg West fourth on 119 percent.
Half a game back is South Morang on four and a half wins. Mernda is sixth on two wins, with Old Eltham Collegians half a game behind. Lalor is eighth with one win and Reservoir is yet to win in last spot.
Team changes will be important heading into Round 9, where all teams will have enjoyed a minimum 14 days between games.
Panton Hill will be desperate to atone for its shock loss when travelling to Crispe Park to play Reservoir.
The Redbacks would be hoping to get star recruit Joel McLellan back soon as they get towards the business end of the season.
The visitors will be hottest of favourites to win this one. But the Mustangs did well recently off the bye and would be hoping to get off to a good start as they did recently at home against Laurimar.
Lalor hosts Mernda in an interesting clash at Lalor Reserve.
The Demons will not have played for 21 days ahead of this contest but their form leading into the break was good with a competitive effort against Panton Hill followed by a convincing win over Old Eltham Collegians.
The fact the Turtles defeated Lalor by 44 points the following week points to a Mernda win here. But the long break for the Demons and the likely desire by the Bloods to rebound will make this an intriguing battle.
A victory for Lalor would see them level on wins with Mernda.
Old Eltham Collegians make the trip up the highway to play Kilmore at J. J. Clancy Reserve. Both teams were impressive last round – with the Blues being the more convincing when taking into account the opposition.
The Turtles will go into the game with momentum on the back of their first win, but it would be a big upset if they were to come away with a win at a venue that the hosts play so well.
The match of day sees Heidelberg West host South Morang at Heidelberg Park.
The Lions will displace the Hawks from the top-four if they can win as they are currently only two premiership points behind them. But the Hawks would also be desperate to turn their form around after two heavy losses to Panton Hill and Laurimar in successive weeks.
The long weekend break is likely to be a good thing for Heidelberg West as it gives them a good chance to regroup.
South Morang have had a bye, a game against Reservoir and then another week off before this game. It doesn’t seem like the best lead-in, but the chance to climb into the top-four for the first time since the opening round will be a major incentive.