Doves can’t Holt the Eagles

Marc Holt shoots for one of his 10 goals. 181760 Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Nick Creely

It doesn’t matter what opposition you come up against, 56 shots on goal in just two hours is mighty impressive.
While Cranbourne were never tested and motored away with a frightening second half, the mature performance from Steve O’Brien’s side prove just how far they’ve come this season.
They ran ragged, cracked into the contest when needed, but more importantly corrected shaky kicking by scoring 30.14 after quarter time.
And all key cogs around the ground are clicking – Marc Holt is now back to his best, the presence of Michael Boland around the ground is telling, while Glenn Osborne, Brandon Wapshott and Dillan Bass are rock solid.
And excitement machines such as Ryan Jones, Kirk Dickson, Cameron Angus and Jake Carosella look the goods.
More importantly, Holt devastated with a haul of 10 majors, ably supported by dynamic VFL pair Nathan Gardiner (five goals) and Anthony Vella (five), who combined to carve the game up in another great confidence booster.
The Eagles ran rampant in the first term, but were perhaps hampered by their inaccuracy in front of goal, but used the whole width of the ground superbly to set up many scoring opportunities.
Despite being barraged with a five goal to one start, the Doves were plucky, and handled themselves well in defence despite taking in a 31-point deficit.
But the game was always going to break open as soon as the Eagles got their kicking boots on, with the extraordinary amount of uncontested ball always doomed to bring about the Doves’ undoing.
The difference in class – and namely experience – came to the fore from there on in, with the home side monstering the baby Doves with an unanswered nine goal second term, and running back into the room the home side held an 89-point lead.
With Holt ominous in the air courtesy of some silver service by the likes of Vella, excitement machine Ryan Jones and yet another commanding display by Brandon Wapshott, they made the Doves pay with an extraordinary 11 goal third term and a 10 goal final term, bringing the margin all the way out to 211-points.
Incredibly, since half time, the Eagles scored 135 to 13, as the young Doves tired quickly and couldn’t keep up pace with the home side.
As a reminder of his class, Holt is now within striking distance of Berwick forward Harry Money and Beaconsfield’s Nathan Langley at the top of the goal-kicking table, with the big Eagle now with 18 goals in his four games this season despite playing considerably less games.
And he’s also within striking distance of an extraordinary achievement, with Holt now sitting on 987 goals with the Eagles, with his next three games against Beaconsfield, Narre Warren and Berwick likely to get him closer to the 1000 goal mark.
On a dirty day for the Doves, young star Mitch Cotter was brilliant, and despite his slender frame, was a bull in a midfield flattened by the likes of Shaun Marusic, Luke Bee-Hugo and Michael Boland.
In Round 9 SEFNL action, Cranbourne will endure a sterner test when they host Leigh McQuillen’s Beaconsfield at Frenken Homes Oval in what is the game of the round, while Doveton will return to AJ Robinson Oval against Tooradin-Dalmore as they eye off their first win of the year.
In the two other games on Saturday, Pakenham face the perfect test when they battle it out against the undefeated Narre Warren at Kalora Park, while Berwick hosts an Officer side desperate to take a scalp.

Cranbourne 35.21 (231)
Doveton 3.2 (20)