By Will Hunter
ROUND 3 REVIEW
Bentleigh 9.17 (71) def Chelsea Heights 8.5 (53)
The Demons have strung together back-to-back victories following their 18-point triumph over Chelsea Heights at Arthur Street.
Despite entering the match as underdogs, the Heighters made the early running, booting three goals in the opening stanza to take a 12-point lead into the first change.
Bentleigh lifted their intensity and worked back into the contest in the second term, but the visitors’ greater accuracy ensured they held a slender lead heading into the final break.
But not to be denied, the home side lifted in the last, booting the only three goals of the quarter to seal the win.
Ruckman Mitch Smart was again a colossus, dominating both in the air and around the ground to enhance his standing as one of the competition’s premier big men. Tom Massey, Michael Rogers and Tom Cunningham were also prominent, while skipper Tommy Backman sealed an impressive performance by booting the match-sealing goal for the second straight week.
Former Saints Harry Czarnecki and Dylan Sloan were impressive for the vanquished Chelsea Heights, but it was the inspirational Cal Dodson that shone brightest with three majors.
East Malvern 7.12 (54) def by St Pauls 14.10 (94)
A dominant second half has seen St Pauls run over the top of East Malvern at Dunlop Reserve and keep its unbeaten streak alive.
The Panthers led by 11 points at quarter time, despite having six more scoring shots than their opponent, however, a four-goal second term swung the match in the Doggies’ favour and saw them claim take a one-point advantage into the sheds.
From there it was all St Pauls, with an eight-goal to two second half seeing them home by 40 points and cementing themselves as a bona-fide flag contender.
The Dogs had plenty of winners in Curtis Murfett, Kieran Knox and Matt Herbstreit, but it was big Steve Muller that proved the difference between the sides. East Malvern had no answers for the burly spearhead, who slotted seven goals in a match-winning performance.
Luke Poustie, Alex Hywood and Lucas Hall were among the best for East Malvern.
Oakleigh District 5.9 (39) def by St Kilda City 18.8 (116)
The Saints also remain undefeated to start season 2018 after crushing Oakleigh District by 77 points at Princes Highway Reserve.
The young Oaks were simply no match for City, who commenced proceedings with a blistering seven-goal opening quarter to put the hosts behind the eight-ball from the outset.
From there the result was a fait accompli for the Saints, who extended their lead at every change.
Aaron Purvis starred for the visitors with five goals, while Cameron Hansen, Johnny Cayhan and Will De Bruin were also handy contributors
Nick Hogan and Jake Mullen fought hard for the black and whites, with Dave Velardo also booting two goals in his first game for the year.
Port Melbourne Colts 9.12 (66) def by Mordialloc 18.14 (122)
Mordialloc has secured its first win of the year, belting Port Colts by 56 points at JL Murphy Reserve.
After a tight struggle in the opening quarter the Bloods blew the game opening in the second term, booting nine goals to cruise to a 46-point advantage by half time. From there, a Mordialloc victory was all but a formality.
Mordi’s twin towers up forward had a day out, with Steve Tolongs bagging eight goals and James Morris five in dominant individual performances, while Jordan Derbyshire and Chris Brooking were prolific around the ground.
The ever-reliable Lew Mildenhall led the resistance for the Colts, with Jake Wood and Cory Hicks also industrious.
Dingley 9.19 (73) def Cheltenham 3.13 (31)
This one might not be a game many would be rushing home to watch a replay of, but the Dingoes did enough to secure the four points over a plucky Cheltenham at the Den.
With a combined score line of 12.32 for the match it was hardly pretty viewing, with goals coming at a premium in a scrappy opening half.
The Dingoes had their chances early, but after registering a wasteful 1.11 for the first half, they trailed the Rosellas by six points at the major interval. However, the hosts opened the game up in the third term, booting five unanswered goals to give them some breathing space on their opponent.
It was Cheltenham’s turn to have the goal kicking yips in the second half, with their 0.8 killing any chance of stealing the victory.
Co-captain Jackson Peet led from the front with a BOG performance, with Jack Hyde and young Rory Goldsmith providing ample support. Sam Williams was the only multiple goalkicker for the day with two majors.
Billy Robertson, Mitch Daniels and Tom Nelson were the standouts for the Rosellas.