Mernda snapped a twelve-game losing streak with an emphatic win over Reservoir at Crispe Park in Round 17.
The Demons led from start to finish in the 25.16 (166) to 10.7 (67) triumph. They outworked and out-pressured the Mustangs, then used the ball more cleanly when in clear space.
Despite the long losing sequence, Mernda had been better in recent weeks – despite losing to top teams by reasonable margins.
Highlighting the win was a bag of ten majors by David Hutchinson. Returning to the team after a two-week suspension, Hutchinson was unstoppable in the air and was deadly accurate when shooting for goal.
He delighted the Mernda faithful in the final stanza with a big pack mark in the goal square to bring up double figures.
Poor disposal under little or no pressure also cost Reservoir dearly. A five-minute period of the second term helped Mernda gain the decisive break.
Reservoir had just booted the first major of the quarter to reduce the margin to a manageable 21 points. The next two goals were scored by the Demons as a result of downfield frees.
A third was kicked after a Mustang defender sent the ball out on the full. Mernda blew the lead out to 52 points in the second term, before a mini-fightback from the Mustangs saw them register the final three goals of the half.
They also scored first in the third term to get within 28 points, but the Demons dominated thereafter. Their third term efficiency in going forward was top class.
Mernda had winners all over the park. Conlan Gunn was excellent under the packs and constantly got the ball moving forward. His highlight was stealing an errant Reservoir handball and finding Hutchinson for a goal.
Josh Delaney gave the Demons great run off half back. Adrian Stefanile was a livewire through the middle and finished off with a well-deserved goal.
Matthew Tarr was extremely creative across half forward and set up many scoring opportunities. Daniel Bryant and Josh Nixon played good support acts up forward with three majors each.
“We just want to finish off the year on a positive note,” a relieved Mernda coach Steve Power said. “We began the year with two wins and would like to end the year the same way.”
Power also had some positive words for the Mustangs – who spent a year out of football in 2016. “Credit to the committee and staff at Reservoir for fielding two teams all year,” he said.
Finding winners for the Mustangs was more difficult. Their ruck duo of Liam Killey and Emrys Black performed admirably, while Reece Miller was their best midfielder.
Kent Beaumont showed silky skills in kicking four goals and Shane Potter slotted three as a marking forward.
Reservoir had lost two players for the day – Scott Goodwin and Willem Richardson – before the quarter time siren.
“A step backwards,” coach Aaron Collins said after the game. We have just got to show some fight and spirit against a quality outfit in Kilmore next week.”
The match will be Reservoir’s first ever trip to J.J. Clancy Reserve, as their only other clash was at Crispe Park earlier this year.
Mernda has a past players function next week when it hosts Laurimar at Waterview Recreation Reserve. Back to back wins would give supporters hope for the 2018 season.
Final scores: Reservoir 10.7 (67) def by Mernda 25.16 (166)