South Morang confirmed its top of the table status with a runaway 64-point win over Kilmore at J.J. Clancy Reserve in Round 16 of Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3.
The 15.8 (98) to 5.4 (34) result finally ended any faint hopes of a finals appearance for the Blues. However, this year has seen them on the rise from several seasons as cellar-dwellers.
The home side missed a chance to draw within nine points midway through the third term. The Lions soon scored a major through Alex Colaidis – one of his four for the day – to open a 20-point break.
A goal after the three quarter time siren from James Hewson established a 26-point lead for South Morang.
Those two goals seemed to take the wind out of Kilmore’s sails. The Lions piled on six goals to nil in the final term with the breeze to win convincingly.
The end result fails to indicate what a tough slog it was in the early part of the match. South Morang outworked the Blues in the first term and did well to score three goals to one into the breeze.
But Kilmore fought very hard in the middle part of the game to make it a contest.
Michael Marrett was the best for the Blues in the first half but was unable to play thereafter with an arm injury.
Nick Sheldon was in everything playing midfield and forward – finishing off his work with two goals. Brandon Austin got plenty of the ball on the broadcast side wing and used it pretty well.
Brad Kite continues to do well in the ruck and Ben Tsakmakis ran hard all day. Daniel Matthew played his best game for the club down back – striking the right balance between defensive play and attacking flair.
Jaxson Kinnear showed huge courage in the second term – backing into oncoming traffic to grab a mark.
But the victors had too many winners on the day. Utility Daniel Watson played the entire game in defence. He and Liam Failla mopped up down back and they were the springboard for many attacks.
Tye Hall was good all day. He finished off well with two goals in succession. The first was a textbook goal on the run. His second major came after lovely tap work from Harry Whybrow, who gave him the ball in space and he curled the goal in from 40 metres out.
Daniel Caruso will be monitored after coming off the ground with a shoulder injury.
“Don’t underestimate Kilmore,” South Morang coach Gary Hall said. “They are a tough, disciplined side.”
The Lions provided a number of moments for the highlights reel during the win. Bojan Marinkovic took a speccie early in the second term on the forward flank. Anthony Capeci also kicked a great goal from a similar position in the final term.
“It was disappointing to let it blow out after a solid effort for two and a half quarters,” reflected Kilmore coach Nathan Phillips.
But his team has given the locals something to cheer about – with the recent win over finals-bound St Mary’s a highlight of the season.
Kilmore faces another tough challenge with a trip to Epping Recreation Reserve to play Epping in Round 17. South Morang will be on the road again – with a trip to Heidelberg Park to tackle Heidelberg West.
Final scores: Kilmore 5.4 (34) def by South Morang 15.8 (98)