Turtles continue incredible run

Published on Sunday, May 22, 2022

Author : Doug Long

Old Eltham Collegians have made it six consecutive wins in the 2022 Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 season after defeating South Morang by nine points at Mill Park Lakes Reserve.

In a high quality and entertaining contest, the 17.4 (106) to 14.13 (97) result was the Turtles first win at the Lions’ home ground and on current form, the Turtles look like certainties to play finals for the first time in the NFNL with a top two finish now also within reach.

After the weekend’s games, Old Eltham Collegians share top of the table with Laurimar, only in second place due to percentage. The Turtles are also a game ahead of Kilmore in third, who are a further four points ahead of South Morang in fourth spot.

The visitors trailed narrowly at quarter time, but goals to Tim Woods and captain Eden Simpson got the team rolling in the second term and they were never headed thereafter.

“It was a perfectly executed game plan from start to finish,” said coach Matt Sleeman.

“We played the game on our terms and didn’t allow them to play their game.”

Sleeman had praise for the role of Jacey Winter on Bailey Brown in what he described as an evenly contributed performance.

A six goal to two second term saw the Turtles register 11 first half goals and lead handsomely at the main break by 22 points.

The Lions cut back at the margin slightly to trail by 19 points at the last change, but a comeback win seemed unlikely with Nathan Stefanile and Liam Failla both sidelined for the rest of the afternoon due to injury.

South Morang did, however, still make a charge in the final term and while they had a flurry of chances, the Lions kicked 4.4 to Old Eltham’s 3.0 to fall short by nine points.

It was pleasing for Turtles fans that their team were often able to kick a crucial goal when required throughout the contest, as well as control the tempo in the final minutes thanks to the hard-nosed defence of Tim Ellis and Niall McDonough.

Eden Simpson kicked two for the Turtles in a polished display, while Paul Vidinopoulos also booted two in possibly his best performance for the visitors. Matthew Keys highlighted his versatility, playing key roles up forward and down back.

South Morang was well served by Josh Renehan in the midfield, and he was instrumental in keeping the team within striking distance in the second half. The same goes for Trent Harvey who started in defence before moving further afield later in the game. Both Renehan and Harvey hit the scoreboard as the Lions made their bid for victory.

Reece Jones returned to good form in defence, while Nathan Bell looked dangerous in attack and booted three majors for the afternoon.

The Lions have struggled to get their best team on the park this season. Currently, Josh Lansfield, Jake Potter and Ben Peterson are out of the line-up who combined for over 60 goals in the shortened 2021 season and would be welcome additions back into the team.

“We’ve just been plugging holes and it takes its toll eventually,” said South Morang coach Gary Hall.

Old Eltham Collegians will look to take their momentum into the Queen’s Birthday break with a game against Mernda at Eltham College and then a trip to J.J. Clancy Reserve to take on the only team to have beaten them this year so far in Kilmore.

South Morang will look to snap a three-game losing streak when venturing to Heidelberg Park to take on Heidelberg West before a home game against Reservoir will then take them to the bye.

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