By Nick Creely
OUTER EAST FOOTBALL
PREMIER AND DIVISION 1 REVIEW – ROUND 6
Olinda Ferny Creek may not have claimed the four-points, but showed the first signs they are beginning to turn the corner in 2019, pushing Beaconsfield to the brink on the road on Saturday.
Coming into the clash between two the sides – who both have had some struggles so far in the Outer East Premier Division – the Eagles were expected to take care of business and continue building on its percentage.
In the past three weeks, the Eagles had scored 127, 48 and 133, and looked frightening with their unpredictability through the forward line and stinginess in the back half.
But the Bloods fought, and fought, and fought.
In the early stages, the visitors certainly looked like they had done their homework, shutting off the usually venomous Beaconsfield run to take in a narrow five-point lead into quarter time courtesy of the opening two majors to the impressive Lachlan Taylor.
The Bloods stuck firm and managed to hold on to its lead, kicking 2.3 to a wasteful 2.4 to go into the major break with plenty of confidence and enthusiasm.
Despite not wavering in intensity, eventually Leigh McQuillen’s side began to assert themselves, coming back from a 12-point deficit early in the third to reclaiming the lead after slamming on four-quick goals to open up a 17-point advantage.
Eventually, the class and fitness on the vast surrounds proved a stumbling block, with best afield Sean Dwyer putting the game to bed with a major early in the last.
Adding a bit of a gap at the final siren, the Eagles put the foot down to add another couple of goals by the final siren, while the Bloods could just add a single point to their three quarter time tally.
Apart from Dwyer, who is relishing playing at the club full-time this season, Jamie Plumridge did some more nice work to finish with two goals, while Marcus Hottes and Callum Beattie were instrumental, particularly early.
Down at Casey Fields, Berwick just did what they needed to do to claim the four-points against arch rivals, Cranbourne, 9.15 (69) to 5.11 (41).
Inaccuracy plagued the afternoon, with only 14 goals scored from 40 scoring shots, ensuring that the game would remain close for the first half at least.
The Eagles – who play their home ground superbly – managed to take in a one-point lead at half-time, but Rhys Nisbet’s side stamped their authority in the third like class sides do.
Completely shutting the home side down, the Wickers slammed on five unanswered goals to turn their sluggish first half around, with Tim Gunn (three goals) particularly dangerous in attack in a reminder of his ability to quickly turn a game.
The Wickers ran out 28-point winners in a slow last quarter, with Luke Jellyman-Turner, James Magner and Dylan Morris all important, while Bailey Buntine showed some more exciting signs with a great showing for the home team.
In the remaining matches across Premier, Wandin and Upwey Tecoma combined for 41 goals down at the Kennel, with the Dogs prevailing 26.21 (177) to 15.11 (101). The returning Daniel Gorringe and Justin Van Unen each snared six majors for the home side. Woori Yallock also banked some percentage with a comfortable win against Healesville, 18.11 (119) to 7.5 (47).
Doveton, meanwhile, returned to some of its best form with a grinding win against Emerald in Division 1 under lights at home, 15.14 (104) to 11.11 (77).
For the best part of three quarters, the Doves returned to its electric form, dominating proceedings but not quite putting the game to bed with a 5.8 to 3.4 first half.
With recruit James Gascard up and about in his best game for the Doves with four goals, the home side played arguably its best quarter of the season, kicking seven third quarter goals to open up a massive 40-point gap to seal the game despite the Bombers running out the game strongly.
Gascard, along with Jake Basa and Matthew Boyd, had a massive say on proceedings, with Boyd in particular continuing on his regular dose of leather poisoning, while for the Bombers, Jake Pedder slotted another four while Josh Rich continued his impressive vein of form.
Pakenham, meanwhile, had to work relatively hard to shake off Belgrave on the road, despite having an extraordinary amount of scoring shots, 17.21 (123) to 14.6 (90).
The Lions banked its fifth win of the season to cement itself into second spot, but had 17 scoring shots to just eight in the first half but only held a four-point lead.
Eventually, the overwhelming inside 50 count and class was always going to yield a winning score, with Ash Green’s side finding its kicking boots to slot 12 second-half goals to find the win.
Across the ground – much like the majority of the season so far – the Lions had plenty of winners, with 10 individual goal kickers, including four each from Adam Alberni and Matt Ryan, eventually sinking the Magpies.
Magpies sharpshooter Josh Richmond snagged another five goals to take his overall tally to 19 for the season.
In the remaining match, Monbulk continued its impressive charge with another solid win, this time against Warburton Millgrove on the road, 14.18 (102) to 5.5 (35).
The Hawks – who are still undefeated – set up the win with a dominant first half.