Mustangs prevail to end drought

Published on Sunday, July 7, 2024

Author : Jack Ryan

Reservoir have opened their account in the 2024 Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 season, ending a 343-day winning drought after defeating Lalor by 31 points at Crispe Park.

After an even opening 20 minutes to the match, the Mustangs piled on nine consecutive majors in the first half to lead by as much as 44 points at the main break.

Despite the Bloods mounting a comeback to trail by just 10 points early in the last term, Reservoir held their nerve with six of the last nine goals of the match to register an 18.9 (117) to 13.8 (86) triumph.

Dominant performances inside the forward half from Samuel Boyd, Mark Ferraro and Jamie Koutoufides helped the hosts get over the line, kicking five, four and four goals respectively.

The trio helped the club produce their highest score since the 2015 Division 3 second semi-final.

Robert Holland was also influential and finished in his side’s best for the seventh consecutive game.

Victorious coach Rohan Davies was full of praise for his team’s ability to respond when Lalor challenged throughout the second half.

“We just had a couple of huge stand-up players who swung it back in our favour and changed the momentum, we consolidated with a couple goals,” he said.

Hayden Chapman and Hayden Hunt performed well for Lalor, gaining plenty of disposals between them, while an equal season-high of six majors from Sam Rexhepi helped keep the Bloods in the hunt. His 2024 tally now moves to 41 majors, which is the most he has kicked in a year in Lalor colours.

Reservoir’s Adam Jacklin registered the first goal of the day, slotting a classy major with a snap out of a stoppage before the Bloods responded strongly with the next three goals through Marc Demaria (who ended the game with four majors) and Rexhepi who produced two goals within a minute of each other.

The Mustangs dominated territory early, but poor entries and shots at goal lead to them failing to make an impact on the scoreboard. On the flipside, Lalor were clinical with ball in hand and made the most of their opportunities, with Rexhepi being the main beneficiary by finding the big sticks three times in the first quarter.

But with a 10-point deficit staring at them late in the first, the Mustangs displayed their best patch of football in a long time and kicked nine straight majors which lasted until half time.

Boyd got the ball rolling, lunging forward and claiming a mark inside 50 before making no mistake with his set shot.

After an early injury scare, Mustangs star James El Moussalli returned to the field and provided some magic in the forward pocket, weaving his way in and out of traffic before completing the highlight with six points.

Jamie Koutoufides also had a strong second term, slotting two goals in the period.

Hayden Chapman had the chance to break a run of eight straight goals, but unfortunately for Lance Whitnall’s men, the kick only registered a minor score.

El Moussalli capped off a dominant first half for the hosts, slotting a goal after the half-time siren to hand the Mustangs a game high 44-point advantage.

Lalor drew first blood in the third term, thanks to Rexhepi who saw an open goal square when he wheeled around quickly from outside 50 and drilled it.

Chapman then made amends for his second term miss, when he found Scott Morrisson open on the fat side of the ground with a clever kick which resulted in another goal for the Bloods.

The visitors continued their dominance and slowly reduced the deficit. Rexhepi brought the margin to within five goals after he was the beneficiary of a down field free kick, before two late goals from Marc Demaria saw the margin sit at just 22 points heading into the final change.

Luke Decarne gave Lalor plenty of belief when he slotted the all-important first goal of the final term. His goal was followed by Rexhepi, who read the inside 50 entry best and produced his fifth major of the day, also reducing the margin to just 10 points in the process.

But despite the Bloods having all the momentum, the Mustangs fought hard to get the game back on their terms.

Mark Ferraro broke the run of Lalor goals when he got on the end of a handball receive and drilled a much-needed major from the boundary, giving the hosts a 16-point advantage nine minutes into the final term.

With the game in the balance, it was Samuel Boyd who stood tallest and asserted his authority on the contest, managing his fifth goal of the day just minutes later, before Ferraro completed his strong performance by slotting the sealing major to cue terrific scenes by the Reservoir faithful.

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