East Brighton avenged its 2013 Grand Final defeat and claimed the annual Foundation 49 Cup with a hard-fought 12-point win over arch rivals St Pauls at Hurlingham Park. Little separated these two sides all afternoon in what was a low-scoring contest, but a terrific performance from skipper Ben Douthie and four goals from Toby Mahoney got the Vampires over the line. Peter Mercoulia was the standout for the Doggies.
Cheltenham also started the new year in style with a come-from-behind victory over Clayton at Meade Reserve. The Clays led at every change before a six-goal-to-one final term saw the visitors home by 23 points. Tom Donnell starred for the Rosellas while Jesse Henderson was solid in the ruck for Clayton.
There was no joy for Division One newcomers Bentleigh, however, with a first up loss to St Kilda City at Peanut Farm. Although Dale Hynes fought valiantly for the Demons, the home side were always in control of the match before running out 22-point winners. Tim Sullivan was the match-winner, bagging five majors in a best-afield display for the Saints.
Meanwhile four goals from spearhead Dean Francis helped Dingley to an impressive 57-point win over East Malvern at Souter Oval. The Dingoes flexed their muscle with a seven-goal second term before cruising to victory in the second half. Andrew Johnson led the resistance for the Panthers.
The final game saw Chelsea Heights record a big win over Heatherton in their Good Friday clash at Ross Street Reserve. The two sides traded goals in the first term before the Heighters gained the ascendancy in the second, booting seven of the next eight goals after the first change to blow the game open. Although Kane Tucker fought hard for the Tunners, a sublime performance from Michael O’Driscoll and seven majors from Luke Manders stretched the final margin out to 54 points.