ROUND 17 REVIEW
Mordialloc 7.10 (52) def Chelsea Heights 5.9 (39)
The second-placed Bloods faced a much tougher contest than many expected, with the imminent wooden spooners running them to within 13 points at Ben Kavanagh Reserve.
It was again an ordinary spectacle, but an important win for Mordialloc, who return to the winner’s list after three consecutive losses and secure the double chance heading into September.
Despite going in as rank underdogs, Chelsea Heights proved from the get go that they would not be a push over and took a surprise 10-point lead into the first change.
Mordi regained control in the second term in a scrappy, congested and low-scoring encounter, and maintained a slender lead for the remainder of the match.
Bloods skipper Todd Bastion (two goals) and Harry Haley excelled in the trenches, while Luke Barnhoorn also made a big impact.
Cal Dodson and Jesse Odell were the Heighters’ best.
St Pauls 14.10 (94) def Cheltenham 7.5 (47)
The Doggies have stitched up the minor premiership with a comprehensive 47-point victory over the Rosellas at the Kennel.
In doing so, they have eliminated Cheltenham from finals contention, ending the 2018 finals race with one round left to play.
The first half was a tough, low-scoring arm wrestle as both teams adjusted to the difficult wintery conditions.
With their season on the line, Cheltenham dug their heels in and restricted St Pauls to just two goals with the breeze in the opening term, before hitting back with two of their own in the second quarter to ensure a two-point ball game at the long break.
But St Pauls lifted and broke the game open after half time, slamming home nine goals to three in the premiership quarter to race to a match-winning 41-point lead by the final change.
Matt Kreymborg returned to the Doggies side and showed no lingering effects from his recent concussion, booting four goals in a dominant best afield display.
Curtis Murfett was also sublime around the contests, while Steve Muller booted a bag of five to put himself in poll position for the 2018 Division 1 Senior Superboot award.
Josh Fox played a lone hand up forward for the Rosellas booting five goals, while Jack Barclay, Jack Worrell and Dan Vaughan were again prolific.
Port Melbourne Colts 1.3 (9) def by Dingley 16.19 (115)
The Dingoes ensured they will enter the finals series with a full head of steam following their ruthless 106-point thrashing of Port Colts at JL Murphy Reserve.
Eli Newton got the hosts off to the perfect start, slotting the opening goal of the match inside five minutes. However, the remainder of the afternoon was disastrous as they failed to register another major as they were humbled by a rampant Dingoes outfit.
The Dingoes defence, led by Kristen Feehan, was superb in holding the Colts to just one behind for the entire second half, while Daniel Farmer and Will Edmunds excelled up the other end of the ground – the former finishing with a game-high four goals.
Kane Davison and Josh Ferguson were also influential for the Dingoes, winning plenty of the footy around the ground.
Jake Wood had a red-hot crack for four quarters and was one of the few standouts for the Colts.
St Kilda City 5.6 (36) def by East Malvern 11.11 (77)
East Malvern has leapfrogged St Kilda City to return to the top three, courtesy of their impressive victory at the Peanut Farm.
The win moves the Panthers a game clear of the Saints and puts them in the box seat to secure the double chance with a game against the lowly Colts to round out the home and away season.
The Panthers were on from the opening bounce, and with Chris Carey and Luke Duffy in scintillating form through the middle, they extended their lead at every change before running out eventual winners by 41 points.
Alex Hywood contributed four goals up forward for the winners, with Jack Waterston (two majors) and Steve Brewer also among East Malvern’s top performers.
Big Shem Tatupu was a constant presence for the beaten Saints, with Zac Amos and Chanel Lalotoa also among the contributors.
Oakleigh District 9.13 (67) def Bentleigh 5.14 (44)
It was a memorable senior debut for Bayley Kay-Glover, with Oakleigh District rising to the occasion with a hard-earned 23-point victory over Bentleigh at Princes Highway Reserve.
The Oaks gained the ascendancy around the contest in the second term while the Demons forwards again failed to capitalise on their good work, with another poor return of 2.8 to half time.
Despite the visitors’ best efforts, Oakleigh continued to extend their advantage after before running out comfortable winners.
Jake Mullen booting two goals in a best on ground performance, while the usual suspects in Paul Fermanis (three goals), Ryan Pearson and Simon Black were again industrious at the coalface.
Demon Nathan Stagg played his best game for the year, with support also provided by Michael Rogers and Brett Cooper.