A look ahead to this weekend’s Northern Football Netball League Division 3 matches.
St Mary’s and Panton Hill played a thriller at Whatmough Park in Round 14 of Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3.
The Burra were in front at the right time after trailing by multiple goals more than once on the day – finally beating the Redbacks by two points.
Northern Knights-listed youngsters Ryan Bowkett and Joel Randall both contributed well in their first senior games for St Mary’s – with Bowkett booting three majors. Mitch Anderson stood out in defence for Panton Hill, while Sam Montanaro found plenty of the football.
Laurimar continued its quest for finals with a 21-point victory over Heidelberg West at Laurimar Reserve. The loss ends the season for the Hawks, while the Power remains in fifth place and are still a big chance for finals action in their second season.
Dallas King booted five for the victors, while Kyl Ewart also slotted five for the Hawks in his second game for the season.
Lalor came off the bye and travelled for the first time to J.J. Clancy Reserve, but was no match for Kilmore. The Blues romped away in the second half with 12 goals to one to win by 100 points.
“In the last few weeks, we weren’t able to get over the line against St Mary’s and Heidelberg West,” Kilmore coach Nathan Phillips said. “But today our pressure forced Lalor into mistakes and we were able to capitalise.”
Ben Cooney was a standout – playing midfield and drifting forward to boot four majors. Michael McCulloch backed up his four against Heidelberg West with another four, while Scott Swindells kicked five.
Demetrios Constantinou is in good form and was among the best players for the Bloods for the third-successive week.
South Morang surpassed 200 points with a huge 33.22 to 7.4 win against an undermanned Reservoir at Mill Park Lakes Reserve. The Lions piled on 15 goals in the final stanza on their way to a 174-point win, as Reservoir dealt with rotation problems.
Eight players scored multiple goals for the Lions. Sam Indian scored a game-high six goals, with Tye Hall scoring two and being best afield. David McGregor booted four for the Mustangs.
The Lions moved to second place on the ladder with the win but remain vulnerable to dropping out of the top-four altogether – with just one win separating second to fifth on the ladder.
St Mary’s is on top with 12 wins – four games clear of South Morang (147 percent), Panton Hill (143) and Mernda (122).
A game further back is Laurimar with a percentage of 108. Panton Hill, Mernda and Laurimar all have a game in hand on the top-two.
Round 15 action of Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 is highlighted by the clash between South Morang and Laurimar at Mill Park Lakes Reserve. Laurimar won the earlier clash in Round 9 by 16 points after trailing at the last break. Another tight contest is anticipated.
The Power plays the bottom-three teams after this match, while the Lions have a bye and a game against St Mary’s in the run home.
As such, this match has the feel of an elimination final. Many tipsters would have had both teams missing finals action before the start of the season, but one is now certain to make the four.
Mernda comes off the bye to host Kilmore at Waterview Recreation Reserve. This is a must-win game for the Demons – who finish off the season with games against St Mary’s and Panton Hill.
Mernda has the worst percentage of teams currently in the four and could risk elimination from the finals with a loss.
The Demons will be favoured to win, but the Blues were able to get within 15 points of the Burra recently and will go into the game with some confidence after last week’s 100-point win.
Reservoir faces off against St Mary’s at Crispe Park in a bottom versus top match. The Burra is likely to be the hottest of favourites and is already in preparation for finals mode.
It will be a tough task for the Mustangs, but they would like to avoid a blowout like against South Morang the previous week. They did perform admirably in their last outing against the Burra.
Lalor travels to A.E. Cracknell Reserve to take on Panton Hill to finish off the round. The Bloods will be more familiar with the ground than most – having played there many times in recent years.
The Redbacks will be hot favourites to win as they aim for the double chance. But, like South Morang and Mernda, an upset loss to Lalor would put Panton Hill back in the pack.