With third to fifth separated by only percentage, both Banyule and Thomastown will be aiming to create breathing space inside the top-four, with Diamond Creek sitting out Round 13 with a bye.
Watsonia will continue to search for its maiden win of 2018, but it won’t be easy when it hosts in-form Banyule at A.K. Lines Reserve.
For the third-consecutive mach, the Saints were well within a shot of producing a win last weekend in their clash against Epping, trailing by only 11 points at the three-quarter time break.
The Saints had brought the margin back from 39 points at half time after kicking four unanswered goals in the third term. However, a win again proved elusive as they fell away badly in the final term to lose by 37.
Daniel Watson was the only multiple goal kicker, improving on his three-goal haul the previous week with a season-high four. Joining him in the Saints’ best were Kieran Sheehan, Ben Sutherland and Jake Murphy.
Banyule leapfrogged Diamond Creek into third position after posting a dominant 79-point win over the Creekers at R.J. Brockwell Oval. It was the second-successive week Pete Davey’s side thrashed a team in third place, after beating Thomastown by 55 a week prior.
Bailey Jordan was a force to be reckoned with up forward, with his frame proving too difficult a task for the Creekers to contain, as he slammed home seven goals despite also spending time in the middle.
James Kroussoratis chimed in with four of his own to overtake the injured Jess Coasitis on the goal kickers table, with his tally up to 36 for the season. 18-year old Mackenzie Graham also managed two on debut, while Dan Kelly, Riley Loton and Jacob Smith excelled.
Thomastown faces off against Epping at Main Street Recreation Reserve. The Bears will be wary of the Blues following a third-quarter scare when the sides met at the same venue in Round 9.
Thomastown returned to the winners’ list last weekend, but not with a challenge from the seventh-placed Fitzroy Stars. Ahead by just two points at three-quarter time, the Bears piled on seven goals to two in the last quarter to moving back inside the top-four.
Anthony Capeci broke the 20-goal barrier for the season, moving to 22 after his four-goal haul. Daniel Francis also kicked four goals in his first senior game for Thomastown after working his way back from injury through the reserves.
Epping broke a three-game losing streak with a 37-point triumph over Watsonia at Epping Recreation Reserve. It ensured Peter McMahon celebrated his 250th senior game in style.
The Blues flew out of the gates and booted nine goals to three in the opening half, before a poor third term nearly undid all the good work. However, they regrouped in the final quarter with six goals to two to secure their third home win of the season and fourth overall.
Alec Buchan, Leigh Judd and Reid Staples led the way for the Blues in the important win on a milestone day. Keven Kieran kicked four goals up forward, whilst Jake Perry, Thomas Emmins and Jaedyn Kearney each snared two.
Fitzroy Stars hosts Lower Plenty in the final match of the round. Lower won the Round 7 outing between the sides by 30 points.
Fitzroy was ultra-competitive against Thomastown and looked every chance of retaining the NAIDOC Cup across the opening three quarters. But it wasn’t meant to be, as they fell away late to lose by 29 points.
Dylan Harvey had his best game of the season and was joined by Hedley Smith and Hemi Raheke amongst the best on ground for the Stars. Malcolm Dow returned to form with a four-goal haul, whilst John Hayes kicked three goals to bring his season tally to 25.
Lower Plenty took it right up to unbeaten Eltham in an eight-point defeat at Montmorency Park. It was far closer outing than their previous meeting four weeks ago, which saw Eltham prevail by six goals.
Lower trailed by 18 points at three-quarter time, but that margin was quickly slashed to six early in the final term. With the game on the line, the Panthers managed to find an extra gear to keep their unbeaten record intact. However, Ben Turner’s side is sure to gain confidence from the game
Tom Keys, Fabian Dorbolo in a lockdown role and Patrick Flynn led the way for Lower in the tight loss. The Bears had six multiple goal kickers, with all of Oliver Wilson, Keys, Thomas Blake, Darcy Barden and Ben Paterson kicking two goals.
Eltham and Diamond Creek have a bye this weekend, making up for their meeting on Good Friday, which kicked off the A Plus Labour Solutions Division 2 season.
PHOTO: NWN Media/Northern Football Netball League/Supplied.