ROUND 18 REVIEW
Chelsea Heights 9.10 (64) def by St Pauls 21.18 (144)
St Pauls have confirmed their status as the top dogs of Division 1 with a comprehensive 80-point thrashing of wooden spooner Chelsea Heights to round out the home and away season.
The Demons were never really in the hunt, with a five-goal opening stanza placing the minor premiers on top from the outset.
Matt Herbstreit and Connor Byrne simply did as they pleased all afternoon for the Dogs, with the sublime Matt Kreymborg adding four classy goals in another silky display.
But Chelsea Heights had no answer for the dominance of spearhead Steve Muller, who booted seven goals to top the SFNL Division 1 goalkicking table with a season tally of 53.
Credit to the Heighters, they had a dip until the very end, booting four goals in the final term despite the result being a mere formality.
Jordy Peryman and Dan Campisano were again the side’s most valuable contributors, with Jamie Waters finishing with three majors.
Bentleigh 8.14 (62) def Mordialloc 6.10 (46)
The Demons have ended their disappointing season on a positive note, downing the out-of-sorts Mordialloc by 16 points at Bentleigh Reserve.
The win sees Bentleigh leapfrog the sixth-placed Cheltenham on percentage and finish the year as the best of the non-qualifiers with nine wins to their credit.
Both sides traded goals in a hard-fought, see-sawing opening half, with just four points separating them at the major interval.
The third term left plenty to be desired as a spectacle, with neither side able to register a major in a forgettable 22 minutes of footy. Instead a combined 11 behinds were scored for the quarter, nine of which came up Bentleigh’s end in what has become symptomatic of their goalscoring woes this season.
However, the Demons found their range in the final stanza, booting four goals straight to put a gap on the disappointing Bloods and salute in front of their home crowd.
Mitch Smart was superb in the ruck all day for the winners, with Tom Massey and Sam Lewin among the beneficiaries. Chris Johnson and Chris Yenofkian also booted three goals each for the Demons.
Todd Bastion again led from the front for Mordialloc, with Harry Haley, Tom Curry and Tim Kovess also among the best.
East Malvern 17.8 (110) def Port Melbourne Colts 2.10 (22)
The Panthers have lifted themselves into second spot after thrashing the lowly Colts by 88 points at the Zoo.
In a lopsided contest, the hosts slammed home the only six goals of the opening term to assert their dominance and open up a substantial advantage from which Port never recovered.
Such was East Malvern’s stranglehold on the contest, the Colts could only manage two goals for the entire afternoon.
SFNL interleague and Vic Metro defender Lucas Hall was swung forward and showcased his versatility, slotting six goals in a best afield performance.
Star veterans Steve Brewer and Ryan Mullett were also in the thick of the action, while Todd Mackie and Nic Barry also stood out for the Panthers.
Highlights were few on what was a disappointing end to the Colts’ season, however, Michael Diaz and Eli Newton could hold their heads high.
Cheltenham 9.9 (63) def by St Kilda City 17.10 (112)
The Saints will head into Sunday’s Elimination Final clash with the Dingoes with a full head of steam after belting Cheltenham by 59 points at Jack Barker Oval.
The result followed what has become a familiar trend for the Rosellas in 2018, with their inability to play out the full four quarters undoing their hard work and ultimately costing them the match.
While the Saints entered the clash as warm favourites, Cheltenham showed early doors they were up to the task. They controlled much of the play in the opening stanza and took a 10-point lead into the first change, before City hit back with five goals in the second to ensure a one-point ball game at the long break.
All indicators pointed to a grandstand finish in the second half, but it wasn’t to be as the Saints booted seven goals to one in the final term to blow the Rosellas away.
Aaron Purvis and Xavier Jordan both won plenty of the footy around the ground and were instrumental in their side’s victory, while Shem Tatupu was again a conspicuous presence around the ground.
Troy Parker did the bulk of the damage up forward with his six-goal haul helping the Saints on their way.
For the Rosellas, Josh Fox stood head and shoulders above the rest, booting five majors in brilliant individual performance.
The usual suspects in Jack Barclay and Daniel Vaughan were again prolific for Chelt.
Dingley 16.12 (108) def Oakleigh District 10.4 (64)
A sizzling second half has helped the Dingoes to a 44-point victory over Oakleigh District at Princes Highway Reserve.
Despite Dingley’s intimidating form over the last six weeks, the Districts were not daunted by the challenge. They attacked the contest with ferocity and refused to allow their fancied opponents any easy possession.
As a result, the Oaks headed into oranges one point to the good, however, the cream rose to the top after the long break as the Dingoes piled on eight of the next nine goals to all but end the contest.
Winners were plentiful for the Dingoes, with Josh Ferguson, Chris Horton-Milne and Rob Rusan all running rampant through the midfield. Daniel Farmer and Kane Davidson contributed nine goals up forward, while up-and-coming big man Josh Hicks continued the great start to his senior career with another terrific display.
Jake Mullen was again the star for Oakleigh District with six majors, including the only three of the second half, while Pat Lucarelli and Simon Black were also industrious.