Melbourne Greyhounds Division 1 Preview – Round 8

Published on Thursday, May 30, 2024

Author : Josh Ward

More exciting matches are on the way in Melbourne Greyhounds Division 1 this week, including an elimination final rematch and a local derby where the result could have huge implications on the top five.

An in-form Montmorency outfit will look to build on a strong fortnight of performances when they welcome neighbours Greensborough to Montmorency Park North Oval.

Nick Rutley’s men have started to find their groove in recent weeks, picking up back-to-back victories against North Heidelberg and Macleod by 38 and 84 points respectively.

Key to their form has been star recruits Ayhan Bajramov and Nash Holmes, with Bajramov kicking 12 goals in the last three weeks and Holmes picking up 16 Coaches MVP award votes for the Magpies throughout the last fortnight.

They also produced scores of 100 points or more in their last two matches, something they hadn’t done prior to Round 6, and were the third highest scoring side behind Hurstbridge and Heidelberg in the previous two games.

While they may be starting to find some form, the Magpies are still yet to win a game against sides currently sitting in the top five and will be keen to buck that trend on Saturday.

It’s a similar story for Greensborough, who’ve now lost three games in a row, with each loss coming at home against the top three sides of the competition.

Last weekend saw their biggest defeat to date at the hands of Hurstbridge, going down by 55 points despite the strong form of Jack Johnston and Charlie Bowes continuing, along with the return of Joel Trudgeon briefly from VFL duties.

The Boro have also dropped to fifth in least points conceded after their recent defeats and have conceded scores of 90 or more in three of their previous four matches.

Since 2022, both the Magpies and the Boro have split the ledger in their encounters, and with not much separation between the two, both geographically and on the ladder, this weekend’s matchup could see a close affair.

It’s set to be a massive test ahead for North Heidelberg when they host a red-hot Hurstbridge side at Shelley Street Reserve.

The Bulldogs were able to get back on the winners list last weekend at Eltham Central Park, with a 12-goal to nil first half setting the tone for a comfortable 40-point victory.

Jesse Tardio was at his dangerous best in the midfield and has been named in his side’s best in six of his seven matches in 2024, while Adam Giobbi continued his strong goal kicking form of recent weeks with another four-goal effort, the third time he has done so in a match this year.

With such a dominant performance last week, the confidence levels will be high for Jason Heatley’s men when they take on Hurstbridge this Saturday.

This is a Bridges side however who have never been in better form when facing a Bulldogs outfit. They made it five consecutive victories when they produced a comfortable 55-point triumph over Greensborough away from home in Round 7.

Joel Cordwell’s men have won their last two games by an average margin of 80.5 points and are also averaging 93 points a game so far in 2024.

What has helped the above come to fruition is the wide spread of contributors the Bridges have had at their disposal. Last week against the Boro, it was Blake Fitzgerald who led the way up forward, while star midfield duo William Cookson and Mitchell Moschetti again impressed.

North Heidelberg have won the past two meetings against Hurstbridge, including the 57-point triumph in last year’s elimination final at Preston City Oval.

But with the Bridges in incredible form, they are arguably the favourites in this encounter as they look to continue their upward trajectory under Joel Cordwell.

Macleod will have another chance to break through for their first victory of the season when they play Bundoora at De Winton Park.

The Roos remain the only side in the competition yet to register a win in 2024, and after some competitive performances in the opening month of the season, the previous fortnight has seen them suffer their two largest defeats of the campaign.

Positives of late have come from the likes of captain Justin White, who has put together his best two weeks of the season to date, as well as Darcy Hogg, who returned to the Roos in Round 7 after being a part of Carlton’s VFL side.

Craig Hayes’ men are still yet to concede less than 90 points to an opponent this season, but they will hope their fortunes change against a side who is yet to reach that figure in 2024, despite their good form of late.

After breaking through for their first win in Round 6, Bundoora took it right up to Banyule last week, but fell short by just two points in an admirable effort at Yulong Reserve.

The experience of Nelson Lane and Peter McEvoy continues to shine, and the duo did so again last week. Lane has now been named in his side’s best in three straight matches, while in all but one of his seven games in 2024 has McEvoy kicked less than two goals in a game.

History will also favour Heath Scotland’s men this weekend, having not lost to Macleod since Round 12, 2019.

With matches against Banyule and Greensborough to come, the Roos will see this as a huge opportunity to claim their first points of the season, however the Bulls’ recent form suggests they are in a position to prevail for the second time in three weeks.

It’s set to be a long-awaited homecoming for Heidelberg this weekend when they welcome Eltham to a newly redeveloped Warringal Park.

Despite playing the opening seven rounds on the road, the Tigers haven’t put a foot wrong and remain undefeated in their past 24 games.

Coaches MVP Leader Dylan Clarke, along with Luke Bunker, continued to dominate in midfield alongside star defenders Daniel O’Dwyer and Keenan Posar in Heidelberg’s 105-point victory over a young West Preston-Lakeside outfit.

It’s hard to argue that the Tigers won’t be the team to beat again in 2024, with their Round 7 clash last weekend seeing them kick their biggest score in recent years.

In fact, they’ve scored almost 170 more points in the first seven games of the season they did after Round 7 in 2023, highlighting how incredible Vin Dattoli’s men continue to be.

Now returning home, they will look to keep their winning streak intact when they do battle with Eltham.

The Panthers were looking to face a similar fate to Heidelberg’s opponents last week when they were down by 70 points at half time to North Heidelberg, before they cut the deficit to 40 points by full time.

Although Tim Bongetti’s side have fell in four straight matches, Declan Ayres and Alexander Bellchambers continue to be shining lights for the side, being regularly named in their sides best over the last month.

This will be the first clash between the two sides since Round 17, 2017, where the Tigers prevailed by just 10 points. While Heidelberg look the goods again on Saturday, Eltham will do all they can to make it as competitive as their last contest seven years ago.

Banyule will be out to make it five wins on the trot this weekend when they host West Preston-Lakeside at Beverley Road Oval.

Paul Harris’ men had to fight tooth and nail to break through for their fourth consecutive victory last weekend, holding off a late Bundoora surge to win by two points away from home.

The young and experienced players of Banyule continue to play key roles in their strong start to the season, with Tim Martin leading the charge in ruck and being rewarded with nine Coaches MVP award votes for his efforts.

Meanwhile Lewin Davis and Kye Yodgee’s stellar start to their respective campaigns continued, with both men also polling Coaches MVP award votes last week after kicking three majors apiece.

Another triumph for the Bears will make it their best start after eight games in any season since 2021, where they won their first 10 matches.

But they’re set to face a much younger and unpredictable West Preston-Lakeside outfit who is looking to regain some form.

Last weekend saw them outclassed by an undefeated Heidelberg outfit at J.E. Moore Park, where they conceded their biggest score (26.13 169) since the league became the NFNL.

Captain Max Dreher continues to lead from the front despite his side’s struggles in recent weeks, while Matthew Belbasis has hit form as of late and has now been named in his side’s best for three straight games.

This weekend will mark the first time the two have met at Beverley Road Oval, with Banyule’s home clash being at A.K. Lines Reserve in 2023. Last year, both the Bears and Roosters split the ledger in their two meetings, but the home side will be favoured again on Saturday.

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