Greensborough all but locked in its Meadows Greyhounds Division 1 finals place with a 48-point victory over Northcote Park in Round 15.
Greensborough took full control of the contest after a close first term, kicking 10 goals to three in the remaining three quarters to run away with a 13.7 (85) to 5.7 (37) at War Memorial Park.
The win puts the Boro 12 points clear of sixth-placed Heidelberg, needing only one more win to confirm its fourth-consecutive finals appearance.
The Cougars’ third loss from their past four starts saw them slip to third place on the ladder. They could fall to fourth if Bundoora beats Montmorency on Sunday, leaving their hopes of a double-chance in the finals in jeopardy.
Jack Johnston, Jamie Craker and Chris Clark were among the most influential players for the home side in the win.
Greensborough’s even spread of goal kickers also played a vital role, with five players kicking multiple goals.
The returning Lachy Boscarini, Bronik Davies and Brock McLennan were the best on a tough day for Northcote Park, who struggled in attack without key talls Jackson Starcevich and Ash Close.
Northcote Park started the game out on top with the advantage of the win. After a competitive first five minutes, Ricky Fandrich and Brock McLennan both snapped goals within 60 seconds of each other to give the Cougars an early advantage.
However the Boro quickly began to find their rhythm and goals to Jason Rogers, Josh Riddle and Brody Tickell put the home side six points ahead at the first break.
Greensborough used the wind more efficiently than its opponent in the second quarter as it began to take control of the game.
Josh Grubb and Mitch Merkel both converted goals to give the home side a handy lead early in the second term.
The Boro continued to press with the wind in their backs, moving the ball cleanly to kick three of the four goals to put Northcote Park on the back foot.
The Cougars appeared unable to handle the Boro’s immense pressure as they headed into the main break 32 points behind.
Dylan Campbell took advantage of a 50m penalty to get the opening goal of the third term to give Northcote Park its fourth major of the day.
But it was again the home side who looked the more dominant throughout the quarter, despite kicking into the wind.
Billy Bedford and Merkel both slotted their second majors for the afternoon to increase the margin to an unassailable 38 points at three quarter time.
Greensborough finished the job off in the final term with three goals to one to run out a 48-point victor and notch its ninth win from its past 10 starts.
The Boro have now beaten three of their fellow finals contenders, with West Preston-Lakeside the only top-five side they have not scored a win against this year.
They will look to continue their winning streak when they travel to Eltham in Round 16 to take on the bottom-placed Panthers.
Northcote Park will look to gain some winning momentum heading into the finals when it takes on Hurstbridge at Ben Frilay Oval.
Final score: Greensborough 13.7 (85) def Northcote Park 5.7 (37)