Four teams share top billing with a 4-1 record after round 5 action of Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 football, making for an intriguing weekend of matches.
An upset win by Kilmore over South Morang at Mill Park Lakes Reserve, coupled with wins by Old Eltham Collegians and Laurimar brought about the four-way tie as all four sides look to distance themselves from the rest of the side’s in the competition.
Mernda moved to fifth after consecutive huge wins over Lalor and Reservoir and this relegated Heidelberg West to sixth spot. With Reservoir having one win and Lalor remaining winless, it would be a huge upset if either of these teams can defeat a top six side.
Laurimar bounced back from its first defeat of the season to easily account for Heidelberg West at Laurimar Reserve. The Power trailed by a point at the main break, but a dominant second half saw them win by 56-points.
“Our second half was exceptional and we played the game on our terms,” said Laurimar coach Jimmy Atkins.
Teenager Bailey Macleod was instrumental in the win, while Jacson Cecil booted five majors.
“The first half was an arm wrestle, but then we got outplayed and outworked,”, said Heidelberg West coach Michael Missen.
“It’s probably the most disappointing footy we have played in a long time.”
Missen did like the work of Nick Paton, Jordon Bulman and Brad Moore.
Injuries and illness have been an issue for all clubs this season, but more for some than others of late. The clubs most affected recently have been Reservoir, Lalor, South Morang and Heidelberg West.
The problems that the Lions and Hawks face has the potential to affect the finals make-up, while the Mustangs and Bloods need players back to be more competitive.
Kilmore won for the first time at Mill Park Lakes Reserve with an impressive win over South Morang. Scott Swindells booted three majors in the victory, with Michael Mcculloch, Marcus Webb and Michael Marrett all chipping in for two.
Surprisingly, the 32-point triumph for the Blues was the closest game of the round.
As expected, Old Eltham Collegians notched up a big win over Lalor at Lalor Reserve to the tune of 195-points. Captain Eden Simpson was a stand-out in a dominant midfield.
Forward Nick Milne cashed in on the regular supply and kicked thirteen goals. The big bag took him to equal top of the goal-kicking ladder with 19 goals for the season.
“We’re happy with the ladder position (up to third),” said Old Eltham Collegians coach Matt Sleeman.
“We are looking to win next week and then take on South Morang.”
“Our effort was very good, but we couldn’t match their level of skill”, said Lalor coach Angelo Lamanna.
Lamanna praised the work of Dylan Cawsey in midfield, as well as Mohammed Idris.
Mernda made it two on the bounce when it defeated Reservoir at Waterview Recreation Reserve by 134-points. Ronnie Russell was stand-in coach for the day as regular coach Robert Fletcher was unavailable.
Bryce Kimuliatis slotted ten goals for the Demons to join Nick Milne atop the goal-kicking ladder. Riley Evans impressed, as did Josh Delaney in his first game for the season.
“We’re getting ourselves up to beat a good side”, said Fletcher. “We’ll soon know where we are at.”
Jack Smith continued his excellent form for the Mustangs, with John Abouhaila and defender Liam Morgan producing notable performances.
“We’ve just got to get better in a hurry and do the required work to be competitive,” said Reservoir coach Justin George.
Pat Cronin Foundation Round sees a couple of interesting match-ups.
Many would have written Mernda off two weeks ago, but they have now leap-frogged Heidelberg West into fifth spot on the ladder. These two teams clash at Heidelberg Park and both will be desperate for a win to keep the finals within reach.
The Hawks need to snap a four-game losing streak and if they can prevail, will rise above the Demons on the ladder.
Mernda weer winless after round 3, but will be only four points behind the fourth placed team if they can secure a victory.
The Demons have momentum on their side for this contest, while Heidelberg West will be hoping to regain some stars as the likes of Louis Hill, Harley Modzierz and Jake Chiminello were sorely missed last week.
Kilmore comes off the high of a win over the Lions, to play Lalor at J.J. Clancy Reserve. The Blues will aim for the four points plus a bit of a percentage boost as a win will take Kilmore to third spot, but a sizeable percentage boost could see them move into the top two.
The Bloods will be looking to prevent easy goals being kicked against them as they continue the development of players.
Old Eltham Collegians host Reservoir at Eltham College in a game where they will be the hottest of favourites. They aim to extend their winning run to five games and enter the round 7 match against South Morang full of confidence.
The Mustangs made two trips to Eltham College in 2021 which resulted in losses of 93 and 88 points. Recent form would suggest a bigger margin this time.
But Reservoir fans will be hoping that some key players can return this week to help them be more competitive.
With the top two teams playing each other, a win by the Turtles would move them into the top two and maybe even the top of the ladder. Few pundits would’ve predicted that prior to the season commencing.
A heavyweight clash sees Laurimar do battle with South Morang at Laurimar Reserve.
One thing almost certain is that the loser will drop to fourth spot on the ladder. Last week’s results would suggest that the Power would go in as favourites. In fact, Laurimar inflicted the only loss for 2021 on the Lions at this venue in round 13, when they prevailed by 18-points.
But with the Lions losing only two games since the 2019 grand final, there are plenty of reasons for their fans to be optimistic.
Gary Hall will be hoping for the return of several players who have missed recently, including Liam Failla, Aaron Lazaric and Nathan Stefanile.
Regardless of the team line-ups, it will be a hotly contested match between the teams many think will be there on grand final day.