Round 4 action of Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 will help determine the shape of the ladder at both ends.
There was a thriller in Round 3 as well as two games which changed complexion in the second half.
Mernda hosted Laurimar at Waterview Recreation Reserve in the 4:10pm game. Mernda won the final regular season game in 2019, but missed finals because Laurimar failed to defeat South Morang on that day.
The first term last Saturday looked like it was payback time as the Demons led 2.3 to 0.2 and an upset looked a possibility. The game tightened in the middle stages, then a strong finish saw the Power over the line with a 23-point victory.
“Our intensity and pressure after quarter time got us the win,” Laurimar coach Jimmy Atkins said.
Josh Leather was dominant in the ruck, which enabled co-captains Mitch Thompson and Luke Wilson to excel. Jake Richards continued his good form down back.
The Demons lost Shannon Smith and Michael Evans early. Normally in defence, Christian Cawsey shone across half forward and Josh Mazzarella stood out.
“We don’t accept getting beaten, but I’m happy with our effort,” Mernda coach Robert Fletcher said.
Crispe Park was the venue for Reservoir versus Heidelberg West. Mustang fans didn’t see a single goal in Round 2, but their team scored one and had the lead within minutes against the Hawks.
It didn’t translate into a victory, however, and Heidelberg West ran away from Reservoir with a 127-point win.
“We are obviously pleased with our start, but the season is a marathon,” Heidelberg West coach Michael Missen said. “We play three of the top four in the next month and are excited by that challenge.”
Masaki Miki impressed for the Hawks in the midfield and received maximum votes in the Coaches MVP Award, while Allan Young and Alex Hywood each booted five majors.
Nick Gregson continues to thrive for Reservoir. In his first game for the year, Emrys Black did well as a loose man in defence, while Jack Smith kicked three goals up forward.
“We came in with three objectives,” Reservoir coach Jason Hamilton said. “We wanted to apply pressure, to compete all day and to stop junk-time goals being scored against us. We achieved all three today.”
Premiership hopefuls South Morang and Kilmore clashed at Mill Park Lakes Reserve in the match of the day. The Lions controlled the game early, withstood a fightback from the Blues and then kicked clear to win by 44 points.
Old Eltham Collegians played Lalor at Lalor Reserve and led at each change to win by seven points.
Lalor had no bench by the last break are trailed by 17 points. But the Bloods scored the first two goals of the term to reduce the margin to five points, however the Turtles managed to hold on.
It was Matthew Sleeman’s first win as head coach of the Turtles. Matthew Whittaker was best for the Turtles with four goals.
Justin Bentley has been in the best each week for Lalor, as has Louis Hill and Hirsi Twomey. Add Sam Rexhepi to this list and he finished off with four majors for the Bloods.
“We’re getting closer to a win. I’m proud of the boys’ effort,” Lalor coach Gary Cutler said.
After three rounds, the ladder has three teams on top with three wins.
Heidelberg West moved to top spot with a big win over Reservoir. Not far behind on percentage are Laurimar and South Morang. The sides have opened a two-game gap on their closest rivals.
Kilmore holds fourth spot on percentage from Mernda and Old Eltham Collegians. Two teams in Lalor and Reservoir remain winless.
Round 4 action in Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 under sunny and warm skies pits Lalor against the other team without a win in Reservoir at Crispe Park.
The Bloods’ only wins in the 2019 season came against the Mustangs, with the latest result being a 30-point win at Lalor Reserve in Round 14.
Based on 2021 form, Lalor would be favourites to win. However, the Mustangs will climb off the bottom of the ladder if they can upset the Bloods. Whichever result occurs, it will be huge for fans of the victors.
South Morang is celebrating the ten-year anniversary of the 2011 Division 3 premiership flag when hosting Mernda at Mill Park Lakes Reserve.
It is fitting the Lions will play their neighbours in the Demons because Mernda won the Division 3 flag in 2012.
A win for the Demons on Saturday may put them into the top four. However, most pundits would be tipping the undefeated Lions off the back of a strong performance against Kilmore on the same ground a week earlier.
The game will feature a multitude of players who competed in the 2019 under-19 preliminary final – which the Lions won narrowly.
Laurimar is at home for the third time already this season and will be looking to make it four-straight when hosting Old Eltham Collegians.
Ladder positions suggest that the Power should win comfortably. And the record head-to-head is 2-0 in Laurimar’s favour. But their only meeting on this ground saw the Power win by a mere 12 points.
The Turtles will also enter with confidence after notching their first win for the season. This is a vast improvement on 2019, when their first victory came in Round 8, after playing out an away draw against South Morang in Round 4).
It’s south versus north as Heidelberg West ventures to J.J. Clancy Reserve to tackle Kilmore in what looms as the most intriguing match of Round 4. This game will be covered by OKR 98.3 FM, Mitchell Community Radio.
The Hawks missed the finals in 2019 and the Blues made it to the first semi-final. But this year, Heidelberg West sits atop the ladder and Kilmore is two games back in fourth.
This will be the biggest challenge for the Hawks, however, as they have beaten three teams which all missed the finals in 2019.
On the flip side, the Blues have travelled this year to play two top teams from 2019. Also, Kilmore coach Nathan Phillips will be aware his team can play a lot better than they did against the Lions.
When these teams last met at this ground, the Blues won by 65 points and propelled themselves towards finals action. The Hawks were a big chance prior to that game, but the loss all but sunk their finals hopes.
If Heidelberg West exacts revenge on Saturday, they will be a staggering three games clear of Kilmore. Consequently, the Blues will be desperate to get a win against a contender and bridge the gap. If Chris Ryall can return to the team, it would be a big bonus for Kilmore.