Melbourne Greyhounds Division 1 Preview – Round 13

Published on Thursday, July 11, 2024

Author : Josh Ward

A clash between second and third that has major top five implications headlines the beginning of the final third in the 2024 Melbourne Greyhounds Division 1 season.

Montmorency Park North Oval is set to host a season-defining clash for Montmorency and Banyule this weekend, with both looking to solidify their spot inside the top five.

There’s plenty on the line in this contest, with the winner likely to finish the round in second spot, while the loser could potentially slip outside of the top five altogether.

Both have proven their cases to be the second-best side in the top flight, with Banyule currently occupying that position on the ladder.

But the Bears’ solid form after the King’s Birthday bye came to a grinding halt last weekend, going down in convincing fashion to Heidelberg away from home.

The heavy defeat didn’t stop Kye Yodgee’s stellar campaign from continuing, still managing four Coaches MVP Award votes despite a 94-point loss, moving him to second on the Division 1 leaderboard.

He was able to stand up in the absence of other Banyule stars such as Reuben Blackmore-Moore and Tim Martin, who they will be hopeful of having back this weekend.

Montmorency responded to their own defeat to Heidelberg a fortnight ago after a 23-point triumph over Eltham last weekend.

After missing the previous two games, Patrick Fitzgerald was a huge boost for the Magpies forward line and kicked an equal season-high of five goals in the victory over the Panthers. His contribution ended a three-game streak for his side where they failed to score more than 65 points.

Along with Fitzgerald, Stefan Uzelac will also be a key player for Nick Rutley’s men if they are to prevail on Saturday, with a brilliant nine Coaches MVP Award vote performance seeing him move to third on the leaderboard.

Banyule won the last game between these two sides with a 15-point victory, but at a ground where they have won their last three matches at, Montmorency will look to go one step closer in confirming another finals appearance.

West Preston-Lakeside can cause more chaos for how the top five will finish, when they take on Hurstbridge at J.E. Moore Park.

The Roosters’ inconsistent season continued, as despite claiming big scalps against Banyule and North Heidelberg away from home in recent weeks, they fell short to bottom placed Macleod in Round 12.

Captain Matthew Harman’s best efforts weren’t enough for West Preston to get over the line against a determined Roos outfit at De Winton Park.

But Harman himself is putting together a great campaign, having been named in his side’s best in three of his last five matches, while also sitting equal fourth in the Division 1 Coaches MVP Award leaderboard.

With no Sean McLaren for Hurstbridge this weekend, the role that the 2022 Frank Rosbrook Medalist plays could be vital in the Roosters claiming their fifth victory of the 2024 campaign.

The Bridges meanwhile will hope to arrest a form slump that has seen them win just one of their last five games.

It included a surprising three-point loss to Bundoora last week despite posting a score of 90 or more for just the third time this season.

With Joel Naylor as a late out, Nick Kent stepped up to boot five majors inside forward 50, while Liam Middleton kept his side in the hunt all afternoon and finished in his side’s best for the seventh time this year.

Joel Cordwell has yet to lose a game against the Roosters during his tenure as Hurstbridge coach, with the Bridges winning by 17 points at Ben Frilay Oval earlier this year.

But while they will still fancy their chances to respond to their recent defeats, West Preston-Lakeside will be just as eager to get back to winning ways as their rebuild continues.

Bundoora will be keen to keep their impressive mini run going as they prepare for their match up with North Heidelberg at Yulong Reserve.

The Bulls have started to hit their straps in the second half of the season, winning two of their last three games, with both victories coming against finals hopefuls in Montmorency and Hurstbridge.

Experienced duo Peter McEvoy and Luke Collins stood tall alongside youngsters Liam Mallia and Sam Green in Bundoora’s victory over the Bridges away from home last week.

The win was even more important as it maintained their one-game gap from bottom placed Macleod following their shock triumph last week over West Preston-Lakeside.

Heath Scotland could be nothing but pleased with how his side has navigated a difficult month opponent wise, as they prepare for their fourth consecutive match against a side in the mix for a top five finish.

But while they’ve been up for the challenge on each occasion, North Heidelberg come into this clash off plenty of momentum, following a come from behind victory over Greensborough in Round 12.

Galvanised by the return of Brent Harvey, who kicked seven goals, the Bulldogs showcased their best football in the win away from home, as they now sit on the same points as third placed Montmorency despite being outside of the top five on percentage.

Liam Hunt and Parker Heatley were at their brilliant best alongside Harvey, with Hunt picking up nine Coaches MVP Award votes and Heatley kicking three goals in the 16-point victory.

Heatley particularly will look to replicate what he did in his side’s Round 4 triumph over the Bulls, where he booted five majors in a 29-point win.

But Jason Heatley’s side will need to be at their best against a Bundoora outfit who’s showing signs of improvement after a slow start to season 2024.

Another side starting to be on the improve in Eltham will be tested again when they play Greensborough at Eltham Central Park.

Since the King’s Birthday break, the Panthers have shown what they can do at their best, not only with victories over Macleod and Bundoora, but also by taking it up to opponents such as Hurstbridge and Montmorency in the previous few weeks.

While they went down by 23 points to the Magpies last Saturday, young leaders such as Declan Ayres, Alex Bellchambers and David Evans continue to step up in the absence of some key names.

Tim Bongetti’s men have also kicked 10 goals or more in four straight matches, something they only managed to do once in the first eight games of the 2024 campaign.

With some added confidence behind them, Eltham will sense an opportunity to upset Greensborough on their home deck this weekend.

The Boro were in a great position to overrun North Heidelberg but fell short after conceding seven goals in the final term.

That’s despite Jack Johnston and Benjamin Fisher playing incredibly well in defence, helping keep the Bulldogs to 20 scoring shots or less for a third straight game, but it wasn’t enough to see the Boro get over the line.

Brody Glenn also managed three more majors in the defeat to take his season tally to 25, while also now being in his side’s best in three of his previous four matches.

Matthew Hyde’s men comfortably accounted for the Panthers on Good Friday to the tune of 49 points, but with the Panthers building nicely in the hopes of avoiding relegation, Greensborough could have a much more difficult task on their hands this Saturday.

The Heidelberg train will look to keep on rolling when they face bottom-placed Macleod at Warringal Park.

We are running out of words to describe how lethal this Tigers side is, as they could all but sew up top spot with five games to play if they’re to make it a 21st consecutive victory this weekend.

In their 94-point thumping of second placed Banyule last week, Coaches MVP Award leader Luke Bunker continued his superb season with a perfect 10-vote performance to see him have the lead in the competition.

Captain Keenan Posar and star utility Tom Keys also starred again, in what was the side’s fourth 90+ point win of the season.

It means Vin Dattoli’s men go into this clash as heavy favourties over Macleod this Saturday, despite the Roos picking up their second win of the 2024 campaign last week.

Leaders Darcy Barden and Justin White stood up alongside Mackenzie Hogg and Jordan Corelli to help the club pull off a terrific triumph.

After producing their third highest score of the season, Craig Hayes’ men share the same points as ninth placed Eltham, which is a boost to their chances of remaining in the competition in 2025.

The bad news for the Roos is that this weekend begins a four-game stretch against sides currently occupying top six spots on the ladder, meaning an extraordinary performance in one of those weeks will likely be required if they are to climb off the bottom of the table.

They’ve also failed to defeat Heidelberg in their last five encounters, with the reigning premiers winning by an average of almost 50 points a game.

But coming off a win, who knows what Macleod will have up their sleeve this weekend.

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