A competitive contest turned lob-sided late, with Lower Plenty booting seven goals to two in the last quarter, including the last six goals of the match, to run away with a 20.14 (134) to 11.13 (79) victory.
Lower Plenty sits second on the ladder, three wins clear of Banyule, Diamond Creek and Thomastown with four rounds remaining. Banyule remains in third position, despite its percentage dropping by 12.
The tall timber of Darcy Barden, Tom Keys, Tom Blake and Ben Patterson put on a show for the home crowd in the forward line, kicking 16 of the winning side’s 20 goals. Matthew Duckworth and Patrick Flynn were also outstanding for the victors.
Jacob Smith and Riley Keath were best for Banyule, providing a strong contest through the middle of the ground in the absence of Brent Stanton. Competition leading goal kicker James Kroussoratis combined well with Bailey Jordan, with the duo sharing seven goals.
It was the home side that made the fast start, with Barden and Jordan Sacco kicking the first two majors within the opening three minutes to give Lower a 13-point lead.
Kroussoratis kicked two of the game’s next three goals, however Lower Plenty took five marks inside 50 for the quarter and kicked the next two goals, including a 50m bomb from the pocket by Barden, to lead by 18 points late in the term.
Mannon Johnson scored late for Banyule to reduce the deficit to 13 points at the first break – a touch flattering for the visitors after being outplayed for much of the opening term.
Barden continued his excellent form from the first quarter to kick the opening goal of the second term, before being cancelled out by a Jacob Smith major for the visitors.
Tom Blake then took two big contested marks inside 50 and converted both shots to extend Lower Plenty’s margin to 24 points halfway through the quarter.
Banyule went on a frenzy following Blake’s second goal with Smith, Jordan and Sean Downes all kicking goals in the space of nine minutes to reduce the margin to just one straight kick.
However, the visitors’ momentum was halted on the half-time siren, as Keys kicked his second from a set shot after the buzzer to give the home side some breathing space with a 12-point advantage.
Kroussoratis gave Banyule a dream start to the third term when he kicked his third goal in the second minute of the quarter to again reduce the margin to six points.
But Lower Plenty then changed the course of the game. Its improved forward pressure made it hard for Banyule to clear its defensive lines – helping Lower kick the next three goals, including Barden and Blake’s fourth majors and Paterson’s first to extend the lead to 24 points.
A late Bailey Jordan goal was cancelled out by a quick reply from Blake goal to set the margin at 25 points at three quarter time.
Banyule kicked two of the first three goals to give itself a winning chance midway through the final term, but despite having only three less inside 50s than Lower Plenty for the term, the visitors couldn’t keep pace with the home side in the final 10 minutes.
Lower Plenty travels to Diamond Creek in Round 15 for another top-four clash, while Banyule hosts Epping.
Final score: Lower Plenty 20.14 (134) def Banyule 11.13 (79)