Old Eltham Collegians recorded its first win in the NFNL with a strong 44-point triumph over Lalor at Eltham College.
The game was in the balance at the main break, but the Turtles booted nine goals to three to get the job done in the 12.10 (82) to 5.8 (38) result.
In heavy conditions, Jesse Howell excelled for Old Eltham Collegians and displayed exemplary disposal skills.
Lachlan Holmes did well in defence and Jack Fitzgerald was busy in the midfield. Jake Paterson booted three majors on debut and took some strong marks. Kieran Malone was dangerous up forward with three goals as well.
Cody Johnstone and Trent Grindal finished the game strongly and kicked two goals apiece.
16-year-old Bailey Sobol did some nice things as 23rd Player, including a terrific pass inside 50m in the third term to find Jake Paterson for a goal.
“A great team effort,” a pleased Old Eltham Collegians coach John Garrard said.
“The first and second gamers all contributed.”
The Turtles beat the Bloods on the spread and also had a spare man well placed behind the play – resulting in Lalor often turning the ball over in the midfield to half forward range.
“Congratulations to Old Eltham Collegians,” Lalor coach Gary Cutler said. “Poor execution ruined our chances.”
Cutler was pleased with the work of Hirsi Twomey in the ruck and Josh Novelli in the middle.
Down back, Lachie Evans took numerous intercept marks and used the ball well. He was well assisted by Jake Langborne.
Sam Rexhepi was not able to dominate but kicked two unanswered goals either side of three-quarter time to reduce the margin to 21 points – giving his team a small chance of a win.
He snapped a behind soon after, then the door was slammed shut with three quick goals to the Turtles.
The second term, in retrospect, may have been the Bloods’ chance to make the game a contest. They were winning in the clinches and in control for most of the quarter.
But they only managed a single major – to Dean Angelkoski. Having not made the most of their opportunities, they went into the main break eight-points behind and the home team then took control.
With the long weekend bye coming up, the Turtles will celebrate a well-deserved – albeit slightly overdue – win.
They have a tough task next up – travelling to J. J. Clancy Reserve to play third-placed Kilmore but will go in full of confidence.
The break will do Lalor the world of good as it looks to regain some players from injury.
The Bloods host Mernda at Lalor Reserve in Round 9.
Final score: Old Eltham Collegians 12.10 (82) def Lalor 5.8 (38)