Panthers too strong for Bears

Published on Sunday, May 15, 2022

Author : Miles Earl

Eltham have maintained their top spot on the MC Labour Division 2 ladder, comfortably defeating Thomastown by 59-points at Eltham Central Park. 

The Panthers kicked six opening quarter goals while keeping the Bears scoreless, which allowed the home side to create enough separation for the entire match and claim the 14.8 (92) to 5.3 (33)

From the first bounce, Eltham had control of the contest, with midfielders Bronson Glasgow and Finnbar Maley dominating the clearance count enough to keep the ball in the Panthers forward half for the majority of the first term.

Caught off guard by a blistering midfield, the Bears would call upon defenders Daniel Caruso and Tyla Barrow to try and slow down entries that never seemed to stagnate.

Daniel Owen continued to stake his claim as one of the most dangerous forwards in the competition, booting four goals for the match, three of those coming in the first. Jason McCormick also joined in and added two majors of his own.

The last goal of the first term came from big man David Evans who along with Maley, would prove to be a dynamic duo that set the benchmark throughout the afternoon.

Entering the second quarter trailing by 38 points, Mario Bandera’s side would make defence a priority, placing Aaron D’Angelo in the back pocket where he would shine as the Bears defensive anchor.

But due to some ill-discipline from the Bears, Eltham continued the second term how they started the first, by kicking goals, Glasgow this time getting on the board.

The frustration from Thomastown was there for all to see, but that would soon fade with a newfound aggressiveness to the ball from Division 2 Coaches MVP award leader Lawrence Lopiccolo.

Along with ruckman Jarryd Colson, both men started to impose their presence on the game, leading to a pair of goals for the Bears that came from Michael and Andrew Tang.

While the Bears did well to limit Eltham’s scoring, it would be Joshua Merkel who would have the final say of the quarter, booting a major from the 50-metre line just before the halftime siren.

A fighting Thomastown side would continue to show signs of resurgence in the second half, but Panther co-captains Darcy Vallance and Jackson Weatherald held down a strong defensive unit.

Eltham kicked two majors during the third term, one of which coming from Michael Still, who was later helped off the ground after an apparent leg injury that would see him not return to the action.

Daniel Chadwick managed to put finish off a nice shot on goal late in the term, but his side still trailed by 49 points heading into the last change.

Thomastown had a strong start to the final quarter thanks to important conversions from Coulson and Josh Beare to set the Bears within a six-goal radius of the Panthers.

But the Panthers had the answers, with Evans deflating any opposing momentum left by kicking two quick majors alongside Owen who slotted his fourth for the match.

Mikael Avramov put the cherry on top as he dazzled the crowd with a goal on the run from 30-metres out that sealed the Panthers 59-point victory.

Eltham will aim to make it four consecutive wins when they do battle with St Mary’s next week, while Thomastown, who sit six points outside the top five, will be desperate to get back within reach when they take on Panton Hill.

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