Laurimar withstood a spirited effort from Old Eltham Collegians to secure a crucial 20-point victory in Round 16 of Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3.
The Power notched their sixth-consecutive win in a 9.11 (65) to 6.9 (45) result at Eltham College, but the 20-point margin belies how tough a struggle the win was.
Laurimar led by seven points at the last break and was coming home with a handy breeze.
However, Old Eltham Collegians attacked relentlessly early in the final quarter and when Turtles captain Tim Woods – who kicked a goal after the siren to win the game in Round 13 against Kilmore – slotted truly from a tight angle the home side hit the front.
The next 15 minutes was a titanic tussle with the ball locked at Laurimar’s end of the ground for the most part. The Power edged ahead, courtesy of a few minor scores, but their fans had to wait until the 22-minute mark for their first major of the term.
The footy was kicked to the top of the goal square where Josh Williamson failed to mark but was first to swoop and snap a goal. Set shots goals to Jarod Coco and Brad Deed followed soon after to make the win sure.
“I was proud we could finish the game off well and it was a reward for the effort the team put in over the break,” Laurimar coach Jimmy Atkins said.
Jake Richards stood out for Laurimar with his intercept marking in defence and his good use of the ball.
Mitch Thompson in the middle was the one who was able to lift when his team needed him. He was ably assisted by Matthew Gersh and fellow co-captain Luke Wilson.
It was fitting that Brad Deed booted the final goal of the match, because he got better as the game wore on. He was a cool head in the frantic middle part of the final term.
The game started evenly, but both teams struggled early in the match in different ways. The Power looked sharper but could not find an avenue to goal. The Turtle players were burrowing in hard after the ball, but they weren’t clean with their disposal.
After claiming a big scalp in Kilmore at the same ground immediately prior to the two-week break, Old Eltham Collegians went close to making it back-to-back wins against top-three sides, but just fell short.
“We have been close against Laurimar in both games this year, but still haven’t beaten them,” Old Eltham Collegians coach Matt Sleeman said.
“We need to be cleaner with the ball.”
Indeed, disposal errors were costly for the Turtles, and they regularly gave the ball back to the Power.
Sleeman was pleased with the effort of Tim Ellis on Josh Williamson. Williamson booted nine majors the last time the teams met. This time it was only four, one of which came courtesy of a 50m penalty after Williamson had marked near the wing.
Bryan Galvin was solid playing as a key defender, while Luke Booth contributed well across half back.
Tom Cleary is a versatile player and impressed for Old Eltham Collegians. He can take a contested mark and is also good when the ball hits the ground.
His teammates Jacey Winter and Jeremy Murphy found plenty of the ball through the midfield and Yarrambat junior player Kade Lawry showed he has a good future.
The result didn’t cause much movement in ladder positions. Other results meant that Laurimar remained in second place on the ladder, one win ahead of Kilmore.
The Turtles remain in fourth, still one win ahead of Heidelberg West, but with a tough run home with road trips to South Morang and Kilmore.
Final score: Old Eltham Collegians 6.9 (45) def by Kilmore 9.11 (65)
OLD ELTHAM COLLEGIANS
Goal Kickers: E. Simpson 2, L. Mills, J. Winter, T. Woods, T. Cleary
Best Players: T. Ellis, B. Galvin, J. Fitzgerald, T. Cleary, J. Murphy, K. Lawry
Goal Kickers: J. Williamson 4, M. Higgins, J. Apted, J. Coco, J. Richards, B. Deed
Best Players: M. Thompson, M. Gersh, J. Lawson, B. Deed, J. Apted