Melbourne Greyhounds Division 1 Preview – Round 5

Published on Thursday, May 9, 2024

Author : Josh Ward

A huge battle between two up and coming sides and a Grand Final re-match headline another crucial weekend in Melbourne Greyhounds Division 1.

Two of this year’s early season risers in Greensborough and Banyule will look to continue their winning ways when they meet at Greensborough War Memorial Park.

The Boro come into this game fresh off a bye having started the season 4-0 and on top of the Melbourne Greyhounds Division 1 ladder.

All four of those wins have come against sides currently sitting in the bottom half of the table, meaning this weekend’s game will arguably be the biggest test for Matthew Hyde’s men.

However, it doesn’t take away from what’s been an excellent start to the men in green, as they currently rank number one in the competition for points for and number two in least points conceded.

It’s thanks to a magnitude of players who have stepped their games up in 2024 such as Brody Glenn and Jamie Smith who have combined for 23 majors already this season, while at the other end, captain Jack Johnston has led the charge in defence and has been well assisted by Benjamin Fisher and Angus Sievers.

And although the Boro have been in great shape to start the year, the same can be said for Banyule, who apart from a blemish against Heidelberg a fortnight ago, have played some excellent football, highlighted by their 15-point victory over Montmorency last year.

The triumph was led by Kye Yodgee and Jack Sammartino who continued their stellar seasons in midfield, the latter also polled 10 Coaches MVP award votes. Meanwhile, Sam McLarty’s return to the lineup was also a successful one, keeping star forward Patrick Fitzgerald goalless.

Two high scoring and close contests took place between these two sides last year, with Greensborough winning by five points at War Memorial Park while Banyule won by three points in their most recent meeting at Beverley Road Oval.

With each team bringing some strong momentum into this clash, we could be in for another thrilling battle on Saturday.

The teams who did battle in the last two top flight Grand Finals in Bundoora and Heidelberg will clash again this weekend at Yulong Reserve.

But unlike previous match ups, both sides will head into this clash coming off vastly different starts to the 2024 season.

The Bulls have been competitive at times but are yet to put together a four-quarter performance this season, seeing them winless after the opening four matches.

It was highlighted again in their Round 4 clash with North Heidelberg as they trailed by only eight points at three quarter time, before conceding five of the next seven goals in the last term to go down by 29 points.

Sam Green came back into the side and performed admirably in his second game for the club while captain Luke Collins got back to his best despite the defeat.

However, it’s going to take a complete performance from Heath Scotland’s men if they are a genuine chance of defeating the unbeaten Tigers on Saturday.

Heidelberg have continued to be almost unreachable to start the season, with only one of their wins being decided by less than five goals.

All three areas of the ground are firing, with the likes of Dylan Clarke, Brody Tardio and Luke Bunker having stellar seasons in midfield along with captain Keenan Posar in defence and leading goalkicker Zane Barzen up forward.

Much like all sides in Division 1, the Tigers have well and truly had the wood over the Bulls since 2022, winning all eight of their encounters, four of which being finals.

Whilst it’s likely that Vin Dattoli’s men will get the four points again on Saturday, the sting of last year’s Grand Final loss will still sit in the minds of many Bundoora players and may provide some extra motivation for the hosts.

Montmorency will be determined to return to the winners list when they welcome Hurstbridge to Montmorency Park North Oval.

It’s been a rollercoaster of a start to Nick Rutley’s tenure at the Magpies, with his side currently sitting with a 2-2 record and in fifth position.

They were kept to just six goals in a 15-point defeat to Banyule, with their two leading goalkickers at the time in Patrick Fitzgerald and Ayhan Bajramov finishing the afternoon goalless.

Montmorency did see the likes of Nash Holmes and Stefan Uzelac continue their great starts to the season despite the loss last week, but it was the Magpies’ defensive efforts that ensured the margin was not greater last Saturday,

As a result, they have conceded the least number of points in the competition after four rounds and have only conceded a score of 80 or greater once (81 against Heidelberg).

It’s a number however that Hurstbridge have achieved on three occasions already this season, including their most recent victory over West Preston-Lakeside, and it could be the magic number the Bridges target if they are to make it three straight triumphs.

Bailey Jordan was a key player in Hurstbridge’s ability to break away from the Roosters in the final quarter in Round 4, kicking a season high four majors in his second game of the year.

Meanwhile, Kye Agosta was excellent, earning nine Coaches MVP award votes and leading the way in midfield.

Two close matches took place between the Magpies and the Bridges last year, with their meeting at Ben Frilay Oval ending in a draw before their most recent clash at Montmorency Park saw the Magpies prevail by 21 points.

There are strong arguments for both sides getting the points on Saturday, making this an intriguing contest.

Eltham Central Park is set to play host to two sides looking for their second win of the season in Eltham and West Preston-Lakeside.

Like Greensborough, Tim Bongetti’s men come into this round fresh off a bye and will looking to build on an opening month which saw them improve each week as they settled into their return to top flight football.

Despite only picking up one win against Macleod, they were competitive in two of their three losses, those being against 2023 finalists Montmorency and Hurstbridge, losing by an average of just 27 points in the two games.

The side has seen many of its young guns, such as Declan Ayres and Harvey Furlong, produce some great football while Jesse Donaldson has been a big advantage for the Panthers with his Division 1 experience, and currently sits in equal fourth in the Coaches MVP award leaderboard.

Similarly, West Preston-Lakeside have seen the rise of some of their young stars in the past fortnight.

This was again illustrated through Dante Colosimo, who after a terrific five-goal performance two weeks ago, kicked another four majors and earnt another five Coaches MVP award votes in his side’s defeat to Hurstbridge.

Along with Colosimo, Aleksandr D’Arro, Marcus Federico and Lennox Williams were some of the other young talent who got their side the lead over Hurstbridge by three quarter time before falling short in the final term.

Round 14, 2017 was the last encounter between these two teams, with the Roosters claiming the victory.

But plenty has changed since that match, and with a golden chance to go two games clear of the bottom of the ladder, expect both sides to give it their all.

It doesn’t get any easier for a winless Macleod outfit when they welcome North Heidelberg to De Winton Park.

The Roos were not disgraced in their defeat to Heidelberg last week, however they gave up 29 scoring shots in the 36-point defeat while scoring just 13 of their own.

It was their lowest score of the season to date and having only managed 76 points as their highest total following four rounds, it will be a focus for Craig Hayes in the coming weeks.

What helps is having Michael Hurley back inside 50, with the former Essendon star kicking nine goals in his three matches of 2024, including three majors in the loss to the Tigers.

But it’s young ruck Zac Hudson who’s been a star for Macleod this year and has been named in his side’s best in all four matches this season.

Hudson and his side will have another tough task at hand as they face a North Heidelberg team who got back to winning ways in Round 4.

Scoring big totals hasn’t been a problem for the Bulldogs despite the 2-2 record, with Parker Heatley standing tall as one of the biggest forward threats in the competition.

He has kicked 20 majors in his last three matches and is eight goals clear of next highest goalkicker already in 2024. In total, he has kicked over 43 percent of the Bulldogs total goals this year alone.

Brodie White has also started to click into gear with two solid weeks, including a perfect 10 Coaches MVP award performance last Saturday.

The Bulldogs were the victors in both meetings with Macleod last year, and with Montmorency, Hurstbridge and Banyule to come in three of the next four matches, North Heidelberg will see this as a must-win clash against the winless Roos.

Related News