Eltham maintained its spot in the top-two on the A Plus Labour Solutions Division 2 ladder with a runaway 58-point win over Epping at Epping Recreation Reserve.
The 16.11 (107) to 7.7 (49) victory kept Eltham in second spot, equal on points but 28 percent clear of third-placed Whittlesea after 11 rounds.
Gavan Connelly was the Panthers’ best in the victory, with his outstanding ball use through the midfield and defence making him a standout.
Bronson Glasgow was a workhorse in the midfield, winning his fair share of the footy as well as finishing two on the run goals to boost his side.
Joel Tolli played on the wing all day and was influential for Eltham with acts of brilliance, taking multiple contested marks and taking the game on through the corridor continually.
Paul Currie spent a combination of time up and forward and in defence and was a key part of Eltham’s win, taking multiple intercept marks when in defence and going forward to kick two crucial goals when the game was in the balance.
Epping was unable to replicate its effort from last week and was handed an eighth loss from nine games for the season. However, there were several positives on the day for the Blues.
Thomas Burnside continued his dominant form and was his side’s best player on the ground for the third week in a row. Burnside took a plethora of intercept marks, picking off many Eltham forward entries and was the game’s leading disposal winner playing in the backline.
James O’Brien was also outstanding in defence, spoiling the ball over and over again, as well as playing with great composure when in traffic.
Ruckman Joel Carter won the ruck duel on the day, getting first hands to the ball for the most part of the day and even went forward to kick his first goal of the season.
The game was tight for the first half and Epping showed signs of major improvement, looking like a well-structured side. However, Eltham proved far too good in the second half and eventually cruised to the 58-point win.
Sage Dicello gave Epping the early lead with the opening goal of the match, but Eltham went on to kick the next three goals to take an 11-point lead into the first break, despite the Blues showing signs of being able to push Eltham for the day.
Eltham started the second quarter with three consecutive goals as things started to look ugly for Epping
But two brilliant goals, as well as some dominance at the stoppages from skipper Leigh Judd gave the home side some hope, going into half time trailing by 18 points but with the momentum.
It proved to be an incredible six-straight goal third quarter blitz from the Panthers that all but sealed the game as the flood gates started to open.
The Panthers took a 57-point advantage into three-quarter time, but Epping limited the damage in the final term to ensure the margin didn’t blow out any further.
Final score: Epping 7.7 (49) def by Eltham 16.11 (107)
Best Players: T. Burnside, J. O’Brien, M. Howden, J. Carter, C. Middleton, M. Sibaie
Goal Kickers: L. Judd 2, J. Carter, N. Melitsis, J. Kearney, M. Howden, S. Dicello
Best Players: G. Connelly, B. Glasgow, J. Tolli, M. Williamson, P. Currie, N. Reibelt
Goal Kickers: B. Glasgow 2, P. Currie 2, D. Jarvis 2, S. Currie 2, M. Cantwell 2, A. Bellchambers, J. Freeman, M. Williamson, N. Reibelt, A. Currie, K. O’Sullivan