Magpies claim third straight win in clinical fashion

Published on Sunday, June 2, 2024

Author : Jack Ryan

Montmorency have claimed a third straight win in the Melbourne Greyhounds Division 1 competition, handing Greensborough their fourth straight defeat in the process after a 27-point triumph at Montmorency Park North Oval.

In what was a crucial match for both teams, it would be the Magpies who claimed the 16.6 (102) to 10.15 (75) victory thanks to their accuracy in front of the big sticks despite the wet weather.

They would register three less scoring shots but finish with six more goals, after trailing by 14 points at quarter time.

Montmorency coach Nick Rutley was full of praise for his players ability to adapt throughout the contest and improve their entries inside 50.

“Greensborough’s contest in the first quarter outworked ours… see it, hit it and lower our eyes. That was definitely a focus after quarter time, Greensborough didn’t allow us to do that in the first quarter,” he said.

Nash Holmes continued his stellar season for the home side, dominating in midfield and finishing with an equal season-high of three majors. He has now kicked seven goals in his last three matches.

He was only outdone inside 50 by Patrick Fitzgerald who booted five majors in another excellent display in the forward line, four of his goals coming after half time.

As he has done in each game he’s played in 2024, Kristian Ferronato led the way in midfield for the Boro, with his ball-winning ability a highlight for the visitors despite the defeat.

Zak McCubbin impressed up forward with three goals for the first time since Good Friday.

The Magpies drew first blood within the opening minute of the match after Ayhan Bajramov found himself in a great spot to crumb a Patrick Fitzgerald inside 50 before splitting the middle from straight in front.

But the Boro didn’t waste time settling into the game as Jamie Smith soon got on the board following a free kick.

Everything was going Greensborough’s way early. Nathan Howard’s sharp thinking out of a ruck contest allowed him to get boot to ball quickly and with a kind bounce, somehow found the big sticks.

It was the accuracy in front of goal from Matthew Hyde’s men that saw them hold a 20-point lead during the first term. From Ferronato nailing his set shot outside 50, to Zac McCubbin converting simple chances, the visitors took their opportunities and were rewarded early.

However, it was a disappointing second half to the second quarter that turned the momentum away from the Boro’s favour, as a six-goal term saw the Magpies turn their 14-point quarter time deficit into a seven-point half time advantage.

Both sides traded goals early through Fitzgerald and McCubbin before Blake Murphy got his home crowd up and about, as he rose above his opponent and took a strong mark, completing the highlight by converting the set shot.

McCubbin was continuing to cause headaches for Montmorency defenders early in the second as he was not only finding the big sticks himself but also setting up teammates who were in better positions.

After Andrew Stellas capitalised to keep the Boro in front, the Magpies took over control of the contest, as Murphy, Holmes and Connor Butcher all found the goals to put the home side in front at half time.

With the game in the balance at the main change and the rain starting to pour, it was Fitzgerald who would stand up and manage four second half majors to ultimately be the difference.

He slotted the opening goal of the third term to extend Montmorency’s lead to 13 points, a much-needed goal in the context of the match.

The third was also an impressive term for Lachy Batchelor, highlighted by nearly kicking the goal of the day as his high snap at goal faded late and barely grazed the post.

Holmes who would break the game open for the home side, firing a goal from outside 50 and claiming his third major in the process to hand his team some breathing room with a 20-point lead.

Fitzgerald then made it three goals in a row for the hosts, after a clever handball from Blake Murphy released Anthony Bernardi, enabling him to send it deep inside the Magpies’ 50 and Fitzgerald did the rest.

Heading into the final term with a 25-point advantage, Montmorency were keen to attack hard and put the game to bed early. Fitzgerald managed his fourth major in the opening play of the final term to seemingly do just that.

Jamie Smith got Greensborough’s first goal in a quarter and a half after being the benefactory of a downfield free kick, giving his team slight optimism of a comeback.

But it was once again Fitzgerald who would reply quickly for the hosts, with his fifth goal, before Corey Sleep kicked the sealer for his side 12 minutes into the final term, solidifying a brilliant victory.

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