Melbourne Greyhounds Division 1 Preview – Round 7

Published on Thursday, May 25, 2023

Author : Josh Ward

It’s been a season with many twists and turns already in Melbourne Greyhounds Division 1 and it could be set to continue this weekend.

Having gotten their season back on track the last fortnight, Greensborough will be put to the test yet again when they host red-hot rivals North Heidelberg at Greensborough War Memorial Park.

After starting the season 2-2, the Boro have regained their opening fortnight form with two impressive wins over Banyule and Bundoora.

The Boro defence has been as strong as ever this year, conceding only 61.5 points per game, with last weekend’s contest against the Bulls seeing them only put 40 points past them.

Jack Johnston and young gun Angus Seivers have led the way in the defensive half whilst VFL-listed players Harry Androcano, Joel Trudgeon and Zac Hart along with recruit Jamie Smith have proven to be invaluable contributors around the ground.

This week will see their defence put to the test when they face a North Heidelberg attack that’s averaged over 100 points per game in 2023.

The Bulldogs have turned their year after starting 0-3, winning their previous three games against Macleod, West Preston-Lakeside and Banyule.

Majak Daw has been outstanding up forward, kicking 22 goals to sit second in the goalkicking charts. He’s been well supported by Brock Chircop and Mitch Dillon in recent weeks.

Billy Hogan has too been once to watch in midfield. He collected a perfect 10 Coaches MVP Award votes last weekend and sits in third on the leaderboard after Round 6.

Jason Heatley’s men have only defeated one opponent that played finals in 2022. However, with their current form, the Bulldogs are in a great position to claim another big scalp against the 3rd-placed Boro. Expect this to be a ripping contest.

Bundoora are looking to get out of a slump as they travel to Ben Frilay Oval to face Hurstbridge.

Sitting on top of the table after the opening three weeks, Michael Ryan’s men are now placed outside of the top five following losses to the current top three sides in the competition.

Their attack has struggled to find any consistency, with the Bulls only kicking a total of 11 goals in the past two weeks after averaging just under 100 points per game in the opening three rounds.

Despite their form, recruits Peter McEvoy and Lachlan East, as well as captain Luke Collins, have stood up in the absence of multiple stars such as Sam Lloyd, Brent Marshall and Shaun McKernan.

This will be East’s first game against the Bridges, a club he captained and won multiple best and fairest’s at in previous seasons.

Bundoora make the trip up to a ground that Hurstbridge have made a fortress since the end of 2022, with their last loss at Ben Frilay Oval coming in mid-July last year to premiers Heidelberg.

Although they’ve only managed two points in their last two matches, the Bridges have still proven their finals credentials thus far, drawing with Montmorency before going down to the Tigers by just nine points at Warringal Park having led at three quarter time.

Kye Agosta and Mitchell Hymus stood out in the defeat to the reigning premiers last week alongside Mitchell Moschetti.

The Bulls and Bridges split their four matches since the beginning of 2021, with Bundoora winning both at Ben Frilay Oval whilst Hurstbridge claiming victories in both encounters at Yulong Reserve.

With a spot in the top five by week’s end up for grabs, this game could be anything.

West Preston-Lakeside will have another big test this weekend, when they host Montmorency at J.E. Moore Park.

It’s been a rollercoaster start to the season for the Roosters under new coach Luke Giles, as they currently sit in seventh spot with a 3-3 record.

Last weekend without Ahmed Saad or Mark Kovacevic, they bounced back from a big defeat to North Heidelberg by producing a comfortable 46-point triumph away against Whittlesea.

Both Matthew Harman and Chris Ryall played their best games of the season last weekend. They picked up eight and six Coaches MVP votes respectively and are starting to produce some more consistent football.

Their defensive unit had a better outing against a Whittlesea side who have struggled to score of late, but they have still conceded the third most points of any side in 2023, something they’ll have to sharpen up against a Montmorency side who have tasted defeat just once so far in 2023.

The Magpies produced a scintillating final term to come from behind against Macleod last week and a 19-point victory.

As has been the case so often this year, it was the Montmorency stars that willed their side over the line with Sam Binion, Patrick Fitzgerald and Liam Wale-Buxton all outstanding when the game was on the line.

Marcus Lentini also added to his incredible start to 2023, he currently leads the Coaches MVP Award leaderboard following another seven votes in the Round 6 encounter.

It’s a first semi-final rematch for these two sides on Saturday, a game which saw the Magpies produce their best finals performance of 2022, prevailing by 32 points.

While Montmorency have been in better form, some important additions to the West Preston-Lakeside line-up will certainly make them more dangerous on their home deck.

Heidelberg will look to extend their advantage at the top of the table when they do battle with Macleod at De Winton Park.

The Tigers have continued their winning ways under Vin Dattoli, with their only defeat so far this year coming against Montmorency, the only side that has defeated them since the beginning of 2022.

That looked to have changed for three quarters last week after they were challenged by an improved Hurstbridge outfit. The Tigers trailed by 12 points at three quarter time, before coming back to produce a nine-point victory.

Sam Gilmore, Sean Martin and Lachlan Wilson all had roles to play in the final term surge that has now put them in a solid position to maintain their ladder leading status, as they only face one top five side from last year between this weekend and Round 11.

Their Saturday opponents are a Macleod side who will be ruing the missed opportunity of knocking over a fellow premiership contender in Montmorency, having led in all three quarter breaks before going down by 19 points.

Reigning Division 2 league best and fairest winner Darcy Barden had a breakthrough game in defence, picking up five Coaches MVP Award votes. Kurt Manuel had a great contribution despite the defeat,

Like most of their opponents in 2022, the Tigers were able to pick up two wins against the Roos last year. However, since their Good Friday clash, Macleod have gone on to win their last two home games against Banyule and Whittlesea.

It’ll be a big mountain to climb for Craig Hayes’ men, but after a promising fortnight, they’ll look to put a four-quarter performance together against the reigning premiers.

It’s set to be a big day for Banyule when they return to Beverley Road for the first time in 2023 ahead of a clash with the winless Whittlesea.

The Bears have been another side that have shown promise and an ability to keep up with the top sides in the competition, however, they currently sit second last on the ladder having lost their previous two encounters to Greensborough and North Heidelberg.

Captain Devin McDonald and recruit Max Jones have been the Bears’ most consistent contributors so far in this year’s campaign, while Vivian Blackmore-Moore’s presence up forward has been crucial in the last fortnight.

Banyule have conceded 95 points or more to their opposition in three of their last four games and they’ll hope that against a side that has struggled to produce any consistency inside 50 this year, they can build some momentum for their defensive unit.

Whittlesea still remain without a victory in 2023, but they’ll look to create a more competitive performance to avoid slipping further away from the pack.

Mitchell Andrews continues to lead the way for the young Eagles side, being named in his side’s best in five of six matches this year, however as mentioned, the efforts of the team up forward have been anything but as consistent.

Wayne van der Ross’ side have conceded the most points of any side in the competition and are still yet to reach the 200 mark for points for, having only averaged 33 points a game in the first six weeks of the season.

They will still give themselves every chance against a side they defeated in their last meeting, the 2019 Division 2 Grand Final, and with the Bears looking to avoid a third straight loss, this game could produce an entertaining contest.

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