South Morang moved to the top of the Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 ladder and assumed premiership favouritism with a big win over Banyule in Round 13.
With the difference just four points a half time the excited crowd were anticipating a nail-biter, but a dominant second half saw the Lions romp to a 16.19 (115) to 9.10 (64) victory at Mill Park Lakes Reserve.
The ascendancy of South Morang after half time stands in stark contrast to the Round 5 clash between these teams at R.J. Brockwell Oval, where the Bears fought back from an early four-goal deficit to peg the Lions back at half time and then run away for a convincing win.
The script appeared to be going according to plan for Banyule again.
South Morang played scintillating football in the first term – with crisp ball movement to players in hectares of space. Livewire Lion and player of the match Anthony Capeci booted three of his five goals in the first quarter and helped propel his team to a 6.5 to 2.2 advantage.
The Bears dug deep in the second term – stemming the bleeding in terms of being beaten on the spread and finding more avenues to goals, with James Kroussoratis, Matthew Yarwood, Riley Keath and Devin McDonald all kicking majors.
South Morang missed a plethora of sets shots and only managed a wasteful 0.5 in the second stanza and took a narrow lead into the main break.
A six-goal to two third term – with Lion forward Alex Colaidis kicking three of his five majors – sent the home team into the last change with a 39-point lead.
To add cream to the cake, noted high-flier Daniel Watson took an absolute hanger right in front of the adoring crowd.
Any hope of a miracle comeback by the Bears was snuffed out when South Morang registered the first two majors of the final quarter via Colaidis and Mitchell Dickson.
The Lions had winners everywhere. Ben Power took numerous intercept marks in defence. Jake Potter, upon return from injury, kept James Kroussoratis to three goals and also set up team mates further afield with intelligent use of the ball.
Mitch Buckley was another defender who was precise with his disposal, while James Hewson and Daniel Caruso did well in the midfield.
“Being so young, their best football is to come in the next three to four years,” South Morang coach Gary Hall said. “What they are doing now is a bonus.”
Nick Johnston – who played a close-checking role in the Round 5 clash – was given his usual role across half forward and excelled until a hand injury saw him finish his day late in the second term.
Banyule also went down a rotation early with Daniel Kelly’s injury. They also lost Kieran Malone to a yellow card in the third term, but the game was virtually gone by then.
Winners were harder to find for the Bears. Scott Gumbleton did well around the ground, while Devin McDonald finished off his hard-running midfield role with two goals. Jacob Smith exhibited silky skills at time.
“We were overrun by a very skilful side,” Banyule coach Pete Davey said. “We gave them too much outside uncontested footy and they ripped us to shreds”.
Banyule gets its chance to atone when it hosts Kilmore at R.J. Brockwell Oval. South Morang will play its first ever game at Laurimar Reserve in its Round 14 battle against the Power.
Final score: South Morang 16.19 (115) def Banyule 9.10 (64)