ROUND 18 REVIEW
Ashwood 19.16 (130) def South Yarra 3.7 (25)
Ashwood found crucial form ahead of the finals, with a commanding 105-point win over South Yarra.
Magpies Jeremy Nelson and Chris Meyers shared evenly in eight goals, whilst their teammate Ryan Carroll provided inspiration with a best on ground effort.
Chris Grove and Paddy Carroll were also solid contributors for the winner and finished with three goals each.
Yarras’ co-captain Mark Symons, Paddy Johnson and Eamon Hanney booted their side’s three goals for the day.
South Yarra’s other co-captain Scott Stegehuis was again productive, in his father’s final game as Yarras’ coach.
The younger Stegehuis’ consistent efforts throughout the season were recognised, with Scott named the Yarras’ best and fairest senior player.
He will now turn his attention to strengthening South Yarra’s list, having assumed the coaching reins.
Black Rock 15.12 (102) def Heatherton 8.12 (60)
What promised to be an absorbing battle for fifth place never got going as a contest.
Heatherton entered its match with Black Rock with four players backing up from reserves appearances earlier in the day.
Black Rock looked the more determined side from the outset, although the teams finished the first term with five scoring shots apiece.
Unfortunately for the Tunners, they managed just 0.5 to 3.2 in that stanza.
Five goals to two in the second quarter propelled the Jets to a 35-point half time lead.
Heatherton coach Shayne Sheedy was suitably unimpressed with his team’s lack of intensity and purpose to that point, urging his players to do better in the second half.
He indicated too many Heatherton players were picking and choosing when to make an effort, pointing out that Black Rock was working hard at every contest.
“They’re making us look second rate. They’re making us look stupid,” Sheedy declared to a silent group of Tunners.
When Black Rock coach Lachie Batt took a strong contested mark and kicked truly early in the third term, it appeared his side was charging to a massive win.
Heatherton then showed character, such that it narrowly won the quarter, cutting the margin to an even five goals at the last change.
Had Tunner Stefan Harris converted a set shot early in the final stanza, Heatherton could have applied pressure on the Jets, but his shot registered a behind.
When Will Sanchez, in his last game for Black Rock before retirement, was yellow carded seven minutes into the last term, it gave Heatherton a glimmer of hope.
However, a Jets’ major soon after ended such notions, and Black Rock went on to win by seven goals.
Luke Reggardo ran riot for the winner earning the praise of retiring Black Rock president John Burke who labelled him clearly the game’s best player.
Reggardo was well supported by Kelly Spratt, Ben Zylbersztajn, and Cooper Ferries, with the latter contributing four goals.
Cam Moon and Reagan Maddaford showed fight for Heatherton, whilst James Loonstra was the Tunners’ only multiple goal scorer with two.
Hampton Park 14.9 (93) def Endeavour Hills 5.10 (40)
An early Reece Smart goal got Hampton Park off to a positive start against Endeavour Hills, but the Falcons responded with a Daniel Batson major.
The Redbacks added the remaining four goals of the first term, going to the break with a dead-eye-dick 5.0 (30) to Endeavour Hills 1.3 (9).
The Falcons had slightly the better of a low-scoring second quarter, trimming Hampton Park’s advantage to 16 points by half time.
Endeavour Hills threatened early in the third term, getting within four points of the Redbacks, before Hampton Park assumed control.
The Redbacks eventually added nine goals to three in the second half, setting up a 53-point victory.
Matt Adair was the most prolific of the winner’s goal kickers, finishing with three majors.
Aaron Holden, Taylor Rainey and Luke Nunan were also influential for the Redbacks, helping their side gain a mental edge over a potential finals opponent.
Captain Nate Strom was best for outplayed Endeavour Hills, with regular contributors Batson and Byron Hoe doing their best to get the Falcons into the game.
Springvale Districts 17.18 (120) def Hallam 5.5 (35)
A spirited first-half effort from Hallam combined with Springvale Districts’ inaccuracy, restricted the Demons’ lead to just 19 points at the major break.
The winless Hawks weren’t expected to offer much resistance against a rival fancied by many to win this year’s flag.
However, Hallam made a bright start to the game with Dylan Grayson goaling after just three minutes.
The Demons weren’t able to hit the front until Mitch Betson’s reply at the 16-minute mark.
The plucky Hawks never regained the lead, but hung in the contest until early in the third term.
Three quick goals from Springvale Districts in the opening six minutes of that stanza enabled the Demons to skip out to a 37-point advantage.
Lachlan Morrey lit up Springvale Reserve with his five goals for the day, helping propel the Demons to an 85-point win.
Districts’ skipper Todd Wills and youngster Jacob Bakes were other standouts as their side secured the minor premiership.
Demon Stefan ‘Poppa’ Feehan topped the division’s goal kicking with 49, adding three in the final round.
Daniel Gentile and Brendan Reynolds led the resistance for Hallam in its last game of the season, whilst Matt Studd and Grayson combined for four of their team’s five goals.