South Morang maintained a one-game game atop the Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 ladder with a gritty 19-point win over Laurimar in Round 6.
It was one of three top of the table clashes across the NFNL’s three senior men’s football divisions, with South Morang able to break away late to notch its sixth-consecutive win.
In wet and wild conditions at Mill Park Lakes Reserve, the Lions overcame a nine-point deficit early in the final term, kicking the last four goals to win 11.15 (81) to 9.8 (62).
It was the oldest player for South Morang, Matthew Trim, who was one of his side’s best players, working hard in the midfield and across half forward.
Liam Failla was also a star in the middle, providing good run on the outside and kicking the goal that gave South Morang the lead in the final quarter.
Josh Renehan was a presence up forward, whilst Mitch Kalpakis was solid as the last defender, before being swung forward for a short period.
The goal kickers were spread throughout both teams, with Alex Colaidis, Josh Lansfield, Jake Potter and Renehan each kicking two majors for the Lions.
South Morang coach Gary Hall said post-game the win was a team effort.
“No one really stood out to me. It was just a combined effort,” Hall said.
“It wasn’t the best game of football they’ve played but they dug deep.”
Kaiden Arthur was a star for Laurimar, with the 17-year-old reading the play well across half back and kickstarting many attacks for the Power.
Josh Leather and Michael Brennan provided a good one-two punch in ruck, but with no Josh Williamson up forward the Power struggled to find a multiple goal kicker. Jake Richards’ run and dash off back line was also missed, particularly late on.
The loss was compounded by even more injuries, with Brad Deed hurting his hamstring, Jacson Cecil sustaining an ankle injury late in the final minutes, while Jayden Wendt, Mitch Thompson and Jarrod Coco also suffered injuries of varying degrees.
However, the Power did show promise even after being severely depleted and making six changes after last week’s loss to Heidelberg West, taking a quarter time lead of six points, with only one goal kicked in the first term courtesy of co-captain Luke Wilson.
Laurimar made the better start to the second term, kicking the first two goals in a hard-fought 15 minutes to open a 16-point advantage, before South Morang kicked the next three goals to take a three point-lead into the main break.
With just six goals kicked to half time, the game opened up in the third quarter. Laurimar booted five goals, including three of the first four, and South Morang kicking four, with the Power taking a two-point lead at three quarter time.
It was Jacob Lawson who kicked the opening goal of the final quarter, giving the Power a seven-point lead.
The Power had several chances to stretch that lead further in the minutes that followed but couldn’t capitalise.
South Morang finished full of running and booted four goals in the space of 15 minutes to have the game sealed heading into time-on.
Hall also said predictions of his side finishing mid-table gave “the boys a bit of incentive” heading into the year, adding that it’s handy to “get these wins in the bank early” ahead of a tough month, including games against Heidelberg West and Kilmore.
Final score: South Morang 11.15 (81) def Laurimar 9.8 (62)
Goal Kickers: A. Colaidis 2, B. Peterson 2, J. Renehan 2, J. Lansfield 2, T. Hall, J. Potter, L. Failla
Best Players: M. Trim, K. Hall, T. Hall, M. Robinson, L. Failla, A. Colaidis
Goal Kickers: L. Coco, M. Thompson, H. Mooney, J. Leather, K. Arthur, M. Brennan, J. Cecil, J. Lawson, L. Wilson
Best Players: E. Gorski, M. Thompson, J. Lawson, K. Arthur, J. Apted, M. Brennan