By Will Hunter
The Bloods continued its charge towards the minor premiership with a commanding 46-point victory over the improving Bentleigh at Ben Kavanagh Reserve.
Despite Mordi heading into their home clash as heavy favourites, the undermanned Demons put up a tremendous fight in the first half – and especially in the opening stanza – to stay within nine points at the long break in blustery conditions.
But the hosts use the wind to full advantage in premiership quarter, booting four unanswered goals to put Bentleigh to the sword.
Ultimately the second half proved the difference, with seven goals to one seeing Mordialloc home comfortably.
Danny Nicholls continued his stellar form, botting three goals for the winners in another outstanding midfield display, while Aaron Kneebone and Justin Summons were also superb in the Bloods’ victory.
Ruckman Mitch Smart continues to put forward his name as one of the recruits of the season, again being named the Demons’ best ahead of Liam Hogton-Hewish and Justin Hall. Captain Tom Backman also excelled in his 150th game for the club.
East Malvern bounced back from its disappointing loss to the Saints the previous week, thumping the Colts by 59 points at the Zoo.
It proved to be another dirty day for Port, whose deficiencies up forward were laid bare as they were kept goalless for three quarters.
The Panthers squandered several chances to build a commanding quarter time lead, and three second-term goals to the visitors allowed them back into the contest. However, East Malvern tightened the screws after the long break and conceded just two behinds for the remainder of the game.
Nathan Henley’s proficiency in front of goal was highlighted by another five-goal bag, while Nathan Robinson, Luke Duffy and the diminutive Isaac McCrimmon were also influential.
The Colts, meanwhile, were well served by Jordan Cotton, Will Cardwell and co-captain Stacey Massis.
Cheltenham have all but ended the Dogs’ hopes of claiming the minor premiership after pulling off a stunning boilover at the Kennel.
St Pauls lacked the effervescence we have come to expect from them this year, while Cheltenham played like a side with nothing to lose as it snuck home by six points in a thrilling encounter.
The Rosellas took the advantage early, slamming on four goals in the opening stanza to race to a 21-point lead at the first change, which forced the Dogs to play catch up footy for the remained of the afternoon.
And it proved to be a closer contest than it perhaps should have been, with Chelt’s wasteful 1.7 second term a missed opportunity to put the game beyond the reach of the third-placed Dogs by half time.
The second half proved a tough old arm-wrestle, but Cheltenham held the pressing St Pauls at bay to clinch a narrow six-point victory – their sixth win of the year.
It was the Rosella’s big boys in Sean McLaren and Chris Graham that helped will their side over the line, with Ange Soldatos and Jarryd Bloink also in the thick of the action.
Nick Halliday was clearly the best for the home side, booting a game-high four goals, while Alex Spencer and Connor Byrne also impressed.
Over at Princes Highway Reserve, Dingley proved too slick for the Oaks, running out winners by 47 points.
The Dingoes’ pressure around the contest ensured they held the upper hand early, booting the only goal of the first quarter and a further four in the second to put a decisive gap on their opponent in what was a low-scoring contest.
Oakleigh District fought hard to bring the margin back to just three goals at the final change, but that was as close as they could get. Dingley broke the shackles in the final term, booting 6.6 (including the first five majors of the quarter) to double its three-quarter time score and run out comfortable victors.
Co-captains Jackson Peet and Trav La Rocca led from the front to help orchestrate Dingley’s win, while Chris Horton-Milne was constantly in the thick of the action. Cal McQueen, the Dingoes’ only multiple goalkicker, finished with four to remain in the frame for a second straight Division 1 Superboot award.
Paul Fermanis and Luke Casey were the best for the Districts and former Dingo Jake Mullen kicked three goals in another impressive outing.
The Saints’ march to September continues to gather momentum as it dispatched Clayton by 63 points in a scrappy contest at Meade Reserve.
A seven-goal-to-one first half had St Kilda City installed as 40-point leaders by half time, but a more competitive second half that yielded three goals ultimately limited the damage for the Clays.
Harry Czarnecki and Matt Runnells led the way for the winners, while Beau Runnells, who returned to the senior line up for the first time since Round 5, was one of the Saints’ five multiple goalkickers.
The usual suspects in Jack McEwin and Matt Wilson again shone for the Clays.
By Jason Barbin
Murrumbeena was the big winner out of Round 17, moving into the top five and now loom as the favourite to claim the final spot heading into finals.
In a topsy turvy match-up, Murrumbeena overcame a mini collapse and a seven-point three quarter time deficit to defeat Hampton by 12 points and move into fifth.
The Beena led comfortably by 20 points at half time, but were unable to hold off Hampton in the third before storming home in the last.
Alister Bradley finished the match as the leading goal kicker with three majors while Josh Wright and Jake Semmel were best on ground.
Kicking with the aid of a breeze, Hampton led in the first with two goals to one, before Murrumbeena seized control in the second, piling on four goals to lead by 20 at half time.
The Hammers took advantage of the conditions in the third to score another five goals to one, but in the end the Beena took home the win by eight points with three goals in the final term.
Guy Timms and Luke Hayes were named Hampton’s best.
Chelsea Heights dealt East Brighton a massive blow in its finals hopes with a 63-point win, leaving the Vampires with a lot of work to do.
The Heighters never looked in doubt of dropping this game, leading at every change after setting up the win with an 11-goal first half.
Phil Smith was dominant inside 50, finishing with seven goals, while Mark Stevens and Nathan Herrington were also impressive.
Chelsea Heights enjoyed an excellent start with five goals in the first, before an even second quarter saw both sides score six majors, resulting in a 29-point lead for the Heighters at half time.
The third quarter yielded another four goals for the premiership favourites, putting the result beyond doubt before the Heighters cruised home to victory in the last.
Andrew Jansen and Mitch Backman were named the Vampires’ best.
Keysborough has ended Springvale Districts’ finals hopes, putting together a solid performance to win by 15 points.
The Burra booted five goals in the first half to set up the win, holding off the Districts attempts at a comeback in the second.
Tim Werner was in strong form for the victors, booting two goals in a best on ground performance while Daniel Morland was also good.
Keysborough took control of the game right from the outset, booting three goals in the first and two in the second to lead by 17 points at half time.
Springvale matched Keysborough goal for goal during the second half, with each side kicking four, but the Districts were unable to construct a comeback.
Stefan Feehan was in excellent form inside 50, booting four goals for Springvale.
Caulfield overcame a somewhat sluggish start to hold off a gallant Heatherton outfit by 38 points on the road.
The Bears led by just 12 points at the final change, before piling on six goals to one in the last to come out well and truly ahead.
Chris Lewis and Harris Lanyon led the way for the winners, while Tom Heagney and Ben Still each kicked two majors.
Caulfield fell victim to inaccurate kicking during the first half of action, totalling just three goals from 12 scoring shots to lead by 18 at the main break.
Heatherton sprung into action during the third term, booting four goals to three to get back to within 12 points, but the Bears broke from their slump to post five goals to one in the last.
Blake Cochrane and Jesse Stone (two goals) were Heatherton’s best.
Highett’s hopes of a finals berth are over after succumbing to Mount Waverley by 31 points on its home deck.
The Dogs needed to win to keep their slim hopes alive, but with just two games left they will be unable to make up the three-game deficit.
Mount Waverley trailed by three points at the half time break, but were inspiring in the second half, piling on 11 goals to five to come away with the win.
James Gough, Jackson Smith and Ian Taylor combined for 12 goals in the win, while inspirational leader Jarrod Wilkin was best on ground.
A competitive first half saw both sides boot six goals, but it was Highett with a three-point lead at half time.
The Lions powered away in the third however, slamming home nine goals to two to create a 42-point lead before cruising home to win in the last.
Andrew Carey and Sam Jackson (two goals) were named Highett’s best.
By Andrew Paloczi
The SFNL radio match wasn’t pretty, but it was the division’s only close contest on a blustery Saturday afternoon.
Black Rock’s 10-point triumph over Endeavour Hills reshaped the top five, enabling the Jets to dislodge South Yarra.
Daniel Kick’s experience proved crucial for the Jets as he thwarted numerous Falcons’ attacks.
Kristian Bliesner kicked six of Black Rock’s eight goals, a commendable output in the swirling wind. Five of his majors came in the first term, and he edged out Kick as the commentary team’s player of the day.
Endeavour Hills may rue its inaccuracy and overuse of the footy.
The loss consigned it to fourth on the ladder.
It was an emotional occasion at Edinburgh Reserve as Sandown paid its respects to Trent McKenzie, who recently passed away.
McKenzie coached the Cobras’ reserves in 2015-16.
Sadly, but predictably, the Cobras were unable to match it with Hallam.
The Hawks soared to a 171-point victory, with Manny Peresso again best on ground.
Shane Thomas delivered his biggest bag of the season, contributing nine goals to the win.
James Tate delivered Sandown’s lone goal.
South Yarra never got into the contest against Ashwood.
The Yarras led by a couple of points at quarter time, but failed to capitalise on a substantial wind advantage.
After an indifferent few weeks, Ashwood was switched on from the start. Its players ran harder and looked sharper, moving the ball well into the breeze.
From the moment Brad Hemphill punished a lacklustre piece of South Yarra defence with a goal, signs were ominous for the visitors.
An eye-catching performance from Magpie Gavin Mahony earned him acknowledgement as player of the game. He finished with three goals and provided opportunities for teammates.
Shane Peake was another significant contributor for Ashwood with five majors, helping propel his side to a 52-point win.
Trevor Kumetaitis was the brightest star for Lyndale, booting nine goals in an 86-point win over Dandenong.
He has 61 majors for the season, 20 ahead of Shane Peake and Kristian Bliesner.
Doveton was never threatened by CPL.
The Eagles’ 38-point win proved decisive, enabling them to swoop on the third rung of the ladder in place of Endeavour Hills.
Doveton captain Corrie Wilson set the standard as best afield.
Teammate Troy Hancock had his most productive return for the season with four majors.
Moorabbin’s home match against Lyndhurst was shifted to Hampton. It was unfortunate on a day of significant milestones for the Kangaroos.
James Parker recorded his 200th appearance for Moorabbin. 2012 premiership Kangaroo, Andrew Mackay played his 150th game, whilst Aaron Bodin notched up his 100th.
Bodin marked the occasion as Moorabbin’s best, but there was little joy for the team as Lyndhurst broke away after a tight first half.
Lightning took a 33-point lead into the final term, going on to win by 27.
Jesse Walia was best for Lyndhurst, whilst Ryan Lowe was its most notable goal scorer with three.
By Britt Goldsmith
St Pauls fell victim to another 100-point plus score made by Cheltenham, going down by 77 points at McKinnon Reserve.
Cheltenham set an impossible task for St Pauls approaching the first break, leading 8.3 (51) to 0.2 (2). From then, it was an uphill battle for St Pauls as Cheltenham continued to build on the damage throughout the match, including a highlight five-goal haul from Tom Davis.
An unwavering Rosellas restricted St Pauls first goal until the final term, with players Nathan Karpathakis and Stephen Milicia wreaking havoc on the field in what was a disappointing day for the Doggies.
St Kilda City dominated over Skye in another large defeat in Round 15, taking the win by a considerable 62 points at home.
19 behinds did not stop City from claiming a large result, with Oliver Woods and Shai Wood paving the way in a game that was seemingly theirs for the taking judging by the score at the first break (3.7-25 to 0.1-1).
Goals from seven different City players reflected a true team effort as they kept Skye to just one goal for the game, who were simply unable to compete with the current premiership favourites.
No score in the first term set a tough challenge from the start for Bentleigh in their game against Parkmore / Springvale, eventually going down by 63 points at Springvale Reserve.
Bentleigh were able to jump to 18 points by the main break, but were unable to back up their efforts as another scoreless term followed in the third – where seven goals from Parkmore / Springvale proved to be the nail in the coffin.
A standout performance by Joseph Ekeroma and a stunning six goals from Robert Lega Frost in challenging conditions was the difference in this match, which saw Bentleigh restricted to three goals compared to Parkmore / Springvale’s 14.
Hallam have jumped to second position on the ladder under St Kilda City following their defeat over Hampton at home.
Hallam were simply too strong for a struggling Hampton, who trailed 33-0 at the first break. Hampton were able to get their first score in the board in the second term, however it was no match to Hallam’s progress as they proceeded to sit 43 points ahead at half time.
The 73-point win serves as Hallam’s sixth consecutive win of the season, as they prove to be a serious threat come finals.
A deflated Dingley have slipped to third position on the ladder after a shock 71-point loss to an unsuspecting Oakleigh District.
Nine goal kickers from a jubilant Oakleigh outfit contributed to their fantastic display at home, with their dominance on the day restricting Dingley to just 1.3 on the scoreboard.
Oakleigh jump-started the match leading the Dingoes 18 points to zero going into the first break, and showed no sign of stopping throughout the game’s remainder. Oakleigh proceeded to pile on 10 goals to one, with 15 behinds showing leniency for Dingley on an already damaging margin.
Christopher Casset led Oakleigh to their triumphant feat in a best on ground effort, followed by teammates Zion Nelthropp and Simon Bonacci.