Lower Plenty came out on top in the ‘Battle of the Bears’ at Main Street Recreation Reserve, defeating Thomastown by 47 points to keep their MC Labour Division 2 top three chances alive.
From the first bounce, Lower Plenty imposed their control in a game, with their composure under pressure and their structure around the ground steering them towards a 6.13 (49) to 14.12 (96) victory.
Despite both Darcy and Bill Barden missing, the midfield tandem of Joshua Turner and Tom Keys continued their excellent form with clearance centric performances that allowed forward Corey Sleep to excel with his own impactful outing.
For Thomastown, Josh Beare and Matthew Vasilevski had plenty of the ball come their way in the backline while Lawrence Lopiccolo became a spark in the midfield, combining with in form ruck Jarryd Coulson.
Phil Plunkett’s side remain two points behind Diamond Creek in fourth spot as they look to sneak into a top three spot while Thomastown still sit six points behind fifth placed St Mary’s, meaning a win against Panton Hill next week is a must if they’re to keep their finals hopes alive.
Lower Plenty wasted no time getting the scoreboard ticking, with Keys opening the game with a snap at goal out of the stoppage, followed by Joel Leslie in similar fashion for a quick two-major lead to the visitors.
Leslie proved to be a source of consistency all game, with his backline work that keeping the scoring from Thomastown in check.
The goals would continue to follow for Lower Plenty, with set shots from Jonathan Zapantis and Sleep each converting into goals.
Jordan Cugnetto would clock in the first major for Thomastown, but Zapantis quickly responded for his second of the quarter to push the visitors to a 31-point lead at the break.
More of the same occurred at the start of the second quarter for Phil Plunkett’s side, when a 20-metre dribble kick by Sleep bounced through for a goal.
Benjamin Nesci was then able to convert a major through some improved transition work by the home side.
With the game becoming more balanced, both sides exchanged goals midway through the quarter.
Zapantis would then close out the term with a major to cap off his three-goal game and put Lower Plenty 35 points up at the main break.
The visitors would dominate coming out of half time, registering five unanswered third term goals that quickly ballooned their lead out to a game high 56-point lead at three quarter time.
A goalless third term was broken in the fourth by Nesci who rose for a specky that gave energy to a struggling Thomastown side.
He converted his set shot and the momentum was going all Thomastown’s way with goals from Anthony Capeci and Michael Tang reducing the deficit.
But the damage had been done as Lower Plenty added a final term goal to finish 47-point winners.