By Nick Creely
OUTER EAST FOOTBALL
DIVISION 1 REVIEW – ROUND 11
Officer proved that they’ve got a ruthless edge to their football, dismantling Warburton Millgrove at home in front of a legion of its life members and VIP guests on Saturday, 22.13 (145) to 0.5 (5).
It was a result the Kangaroos simply needed – a hard, clinical four-quarter effort.
The Kangaroos – who have been up and down in form in AFL Outer East Division 1 – found its groove in their attacking end, with skipper Matthew Clarke slotting six as the home side made life difficult for the Burras.
The home side was electric in the opening quarter, kicking beautifully in front of goal to kick 11 first term goals, and opened up a whopping 80-point advantage at the long break.
Showing no signs of slowing down, the home side ensured the Burras would walk away goalless in their most complete four quarter performance of the season, with all elements of the game coming together to fire a warning shot to the other finals contenders in the competition.
While Clarke shone with another bag of goals as he continues to make a serious splash in 2019, midfielder Tyler Clark was once again superb, veteran Ben Tivendale found three majors himself and a stack of the footy, while ruckman Sean Roach and Harry Dean all played well across the ground, with Roach in particular relishing the conditions with his big frame and ability to create a contest.
Officer coach Doug Koop said it was important to start the game the way it did, and praised his group for putting the game to bed early.
“Everything seemed to flow our way in the first quarter, when your 10 goals up at quarter time the game is done and dusted,” he said.
“To their credit they certainly shut the game down and became far more competitive which made it harder for us to score, however we persisted and managed to kick away in the last quarter.”
With the race for the top five spots all but secured, the order of these spots is still well and truly a mystery at this stage, and Koop said monster wins like these will help boost his side at the back end of the home and away season.
“To have a very good percentage winning boost could be important to our standing at the end of the season,” he said.
“It’s been a very long time since an Officer side has won by more than 100 points.”
The Kangaroos are now 12 points clear of sixth spot and breathing down the neck fourth position in an upcoming fortnight that will shape the positions on the ladder.
Mount Evelyn, meanwhile, inflicted Pakenham with a shock four-point loss, in the Rovers’ biggest – and most crucial – win of the season, 8.3 (51) to 6.11 (47).
The Rovers trailed for a large portion of a low-scoring afternoon, but found that extra gear late, kicking three goals to two in the final term to snare a vital win in the context of its season.
Max Kleverkamp continued his fine form with another class display, and is slowly building into an ominous task for oppositions clubs, while for the Lions, Joe Baker-Thomas fought hard all afternoon in the ruck.
In the other games across the weekend, Doveton was inaccurate but ultimately victorious against Belgrave, 14.24 (108) to 9.11 (65), with youngster Max Sheppard slotting four goals and Matt Stapleton in fine touch, while Monbulk did what they needed to in a strong home win against Emerald, 13.16 (94) to 1.10 (16).
Glenn Strachan once again played a class game for the undefeated Hawks, while Johnathon Hevern was once again a presence. For the Bombers, Jarrad Donders battled valiantly.
Gembrook Cockatoo, meanwhile, surged into the Division 2 top five with a nail-biting win against Powelltown at home, 8.7 (55) to 7.10 (52).
The Brookers secured arguably its most important four points of the year, in a thrilling game with plenty of twists and turns of momentum.
The Brookers started brightly, kicking three goals to one in the opening term, but the Demons roared back and reclaimed the lead at the death of the half to walk into the sheds with plenty of momentum.
But, inspired by the likes of Colin Bastow and Michael Firrito, the Brookers once again found that break on the visitors, and despite a late charge from the Demons, were able to hold firm and bank the win, displacing the visitors from fifth.
In the other matches, Seville filled their boots in a big day for the club against Thornton Eildon, 36.17 (233) to 1.1 (7), with Nathan O’Keefe slotting 12, Kinglake held off Yarra Glen, 15.13 (103) to 10.15 (75), while Alexandra banked a solid win against Yea, 13.9 (87) to 10.9 (69).