South Morang took a giant step towards playing finals with an impressive 64-point win over Laurimar in Round 15 of Northern Football Netball League Division 3 football.
The 25.13 (163) to 15.9 (99) win at Mill Park Lakes Reserve was sweet revenge for the Round 9 defeat at Laurimar Reserve, when the Power came from behind to win by 16 points.
South Morang trailed by 12 points at quarter time but had done well into a strong breeze. The Lions asserted their dominance after the first break, with a nine-goal to two second term to take a five-goal lead into the main break.
Laurimar was just barely within striking distance as the third quarter began but needed to make use of the breeze, which had dropped somewhat during half time. However, two early goals to South Morang blew the lead out to seven goals and shut the gate on the Power.
The Lions took a 40-point lead into the final change. The last stanza was a goal bonanza – with South Morang booting 10 to five for Laurimar. The Power went within a whisker of reaching triple figures in a game which saw a combined 40 goals kicked.
South Morang had no fewer than seven players score multiple goals. Sam Indian and Alex Colaidis both booted four and were among the best. Indian also shared ruck duties with Paul Disanto in the absence of Harry Whybrow. Their work began many forward thrusts.
The Lions played the conditions better than their opponents and were regularly using the short option to good effect. Into the wind, they ran the ball well and controlled their time with the ball, using intelligent handball and crisp kicking.
Laurimar elected not to play a 23rd man, but the move backfired as the visitors suffered injuries during the game and the extra rotation would have helped.
Ethan Stefanovski was 23rd man for the Lions and contributed well – with two goals plus a clever assist when he marked just outside 50, looked to have a shot, then found a man free closer to goal.
“We are staring to play good football at the right time,” South Morang coach Gary Hall said.
The Lions had winners on every line – with James Mellerick using the ball well out of defence and Cory Giannone effective as a linkman in the midfield.
Despite the win, South Morang dropped from second to third on the ladder after Panton Hill’s huge win over Lalor.
Laurimar suffered from a lack of accountability through the midfield and peppered the goals with the wind at times, rather than looking for targets.
Dallas King was the losing side’s best forward with five majors, while Jack Kreuzberger in the midfield clearly stood out as the best for the Power.
“The biggest three games in the club’s history are coming up,” Laurimar assistant coach James Behan said.
The Power play three of the bottom-four teams in the run home – including the improving Kilmore at Laurimar Reserve, followed by Lalor at Lalor Reserve, then Reservoir at home.
The Power sits a game and percentage behind fourth-placed Mernda and still have a chance to play finals but must rely on the Demons dropping at least one game in the run home. The Demons play both St Mary’s and Panton Hill in the final two rounds.
South Morang has a trip to Heidelberg Park to play Heidelberg West in Round 16 and a win would virtually guarantee another finals berth.
Final scores: South Morang 25.13 (163) def Laurimar 15.9 (99)