Melbourne Greyhounds Division 1 Preview – Round 12

Published on Thursday, July 4, 2024

Author : Josh Ward

This week marks the end of the middle third of the 2024 Melbourne Greyhounds Division 1 home and away campaign, with still so much left to play for.

An all-conquering Heidelberg outfit will aim to knock off another top five opponent when they welcome next-door neighbours and second placed side Banyule to Warringal Park.

The Tigers continue to be an unstoppable force in 2024, with their record moving to 11-0 after another comfortable win last week, this time over Montmorency.

Missing the likes of Zane Barzen, Dylan Clarke and Sean Martin didn’t hinder the side’s ability in all areas of the ground to dominate, with Luke Bunker and Tom Keys handling the reigns with ease in the 28-point victory.

Brayden Sier also successfully returned from injury and starred with four majors, as he looks to add another layer to Heidelberg’s many threats in both the middle of the ground and up forward.

This weekend marks the third top of the table clash for Heidelberg this season as well as their second one within the past month.

But their opponents this time around in Banyule will be determined to stay in the fight for top spot, especially as they head into this game following an important triumph over Hurstbridge last Saturday.

A winning performance for the Bears would need to be led again by Kye Yodgee, who would be a favourite to take out the club’s best and fairest award in 2024.

He received eight Coaches MVP Award votes in the triumph over the Bridges to move into third on the leaderboard and has been named in his side’s best in seven of 10 games, including four of his previous five matches.

It was 30 points that separated the two teams in their Round 3 meeting this year, with an 11 goal to six second half seeing the Tigers prevail.

But with some form under their belt, Paul Harris and Ricky Dyson’s charges will give themselves every chance to produce arguably the best win in the club’s NFNL history.

It’s another test at Greensborough War Memorial Park for Greensborough when they play a North Heidelberg side looking to quickly return to the top five.

Having sat outside the top five only a few rounds ago, the Boro have now jumped up into third place following three consecutive wins against Macleod, West Preston-Lakeside and Bundoora.

Will McFawn’s great form continued in the most recent triumph over the Bulls, having been named in his side’s best in three of his last four games.

Jack Johnston also led the way in a defence that has conceded 61 points on average in their last three matches to be fourth in the competition for least points conceded.

Their match with the Bulldogs on Saturday starts a run for Matthew Hyde’s men in which they face all five sides currently sitting in the other top six spots on the ladder, with just two of those games being played at home.

But they will be slightly more confident against North Heidelberg, not only because they kicked 11 or the last 12 goals in their Round 3 clash to defeat them by 19 points, but also because the Bulldogs come into this game having gone down to West Preston-Lakeside last week.

Jason Heatley’s men do have a more favourable run home in the hopes of making consecutive finals appearances, and despite recent form, have proven they can still be a side to be reckoned with in 2024.

Although Liam Hunt, Lachlan Smith and Jesse Tardio were missing last week, five goals from Parker Heatley and some great efforts from Nicholas Matthews in defence almost got the Bulldogs over the line.

If that duo in particular can replicate their efforts again this Saturday, North Heidelberg will have the best chance of returning to the winners list.

Montmorency will look to consolidate their spot inside the top five when they host Eltham at Montmorency Park North Oval.

The Magpies have fell short in consecutive games, to sides at both ends of the ladder, but there were enough signs in the defeat to the Tigers last week to suggest they’re capable of finishing the home and away campaign strong.

Nash Holmes came back into the side and almost willed his team over the line with a brilliant two-goal performance and was well supported in midfield by the likes of Marcus Lentini and Stefan Uzelac.

But with still no Ayhan Bajramov or Patrick Fitzgerald, the Magpies are struggling to get anything going up forward, having failed to kick more than 62 points in three straight matches. Not since 2019 have they done this in more than four games in a regular season.

But they have the chance to turn the tables against a side they registered 25 scoring shots against back in Round 3, with the Panthers coming into this clash as the second worst defensive team in the competition.

In saying that, Eltham have some renewed confidence approaching Saturday’s contest, as despite some key outs, they pulled together three strong quarters of football in their win against Macleod, with the 36-point winning margin being their biggest one in the top flight since 2016.

David Evans stole the show in ruck and played his best game of the season in the absence of Jaden Collins. He often provided the likes of Mitch Robinson and Alexander Bellchambers with first use.

Whilst Montmorency would be favoured to win this clash, Tim Bongetti’s men would take inspiration from the likes of Bundoora and West Preston-Lakeside who pushed the Magpies to their limits in recent weeks in the hopes of doing the same.

There’s a lot on the line for bottom-placed Macleod in their clash at De Winton Park this weekend against an exciting West Preston-Lakeside outfit.

The Roos’ hopes of surviving relegation took another hit last weekend, going down in convincing fashion to Eltham at Eltham Central Park.

There were few shining lights in the defeat, one of those however was Darcy Barden, who maintains his status as the side’s most important player in 2024.

William Tsitsis also impressed despite the loss and has now been named in his side’s best in five of 11 games in 2024.

The motivation for Craig Hayes’ men is still there, as they only sit one game off ninth place, but their best and most consistent football will be required if they want to knock off a Roosters outfit full of confidence.

That confidence came after a massive five-point triumph over North Heidelberg away from home, with multiple players starring in the victory.

Matthew Harman was outstanding in ruck, polling the perfect 10 Coaches MVP Award votes, while Dante Colosimo continued his stellar season up forward, kicking another five goals as the Roosters claimed another scalp and still sit just two games outside the top five.

Regardless of whether West Preston-Lakeside get into the position of forming a finals run, they have illustrated some incredible improvement this season, and will be eager to put it all together again this weekend.

But what might work in Macleod’s favour is the fact that they have defeated the Roosters in their last two matches at De Winton Park and having claimed their only victory of the season at the same venues, the Roos may pull off another memorable performance.

Hurstbridge will aim to get back on track when they host Bundoora at Ben Frilay Oval.

Joel Cordwell’s side have now lost three of their last four games, going down to Banyule last weekend despite holding a 10-point lead heading into the final quarter.

But with how tight the competition is this season, they still sit on equal points with third placed Greensborough ahead of the final third of the 2024 campaign, leaving plenty of scope for the Bridges to secure a double chance by season’s end.

Despite recent defeats, Kye Agosta’s form hasn’t fallen away, having polled 16 Coaches MVP Award votes in his previous three matches.

He was a key contributor in the side’s narrow loss to the Bears, kicking three majors in the absence of Joel Naylor who was a late out, while teammate Liam Middleton has been named in his side’s best in four of his last six games.

They return to their home deck ahead of a clash against a Bundoora side who fell just short of claiming back-to-back upset triumphs.

In a low scoring affair, the Bulls went down by to Greensborough by 16 points, but for the second straight week, did keep a side to seven goals or less, the best of any team in the previous fortnight.

It was Jackson Davies who played a major role in making the above statement a reality, polling six Coaches MVP Award votes in the defeat to the Boro.

Only four points separated the two in their previous meeting at Yulong Reserve, with Hurstbridge just sneaking over the line.

But incredibly, Heath Scotland’s side have not lost to the Bridges at Ben Frilay Oval since Round 13 in 2019, which gives this contest even more intrigue.

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