TEAMS BRING THE HEAT ON FIRST DAY OF WINTER
By SAM RICHARDS
The first day of winter brought about grey skies, frigid temperatures and a round of nail-biting finishes – except for one, unbelievable game played down at Galvin Park.
Just one week removed from record breaking performances by Yarraville Seddon Eagles (208 points), Caroline Springs (219 points), Werribee Districts 1 (194 points) and Hoppers Crossing 1 (171 points), the Altona Vikings upstaged everybody kicking a league high 41 goals in their otherworldly 267- point win over the Centrals, 41.22. (268) to 0.1. (1).
The Vikings pride themselves on being fast starters and this week was no exception, as they kicked 12 first-quarter goals on their way to a 137-point first-half.
The star of the show was Saad El-Hawli who kicked a league high 17 goals in a powerful display of contested marking, frenetic tackling and elite goalkicking.
After just 5 games, El-Hawli has now kicked 35 goals for the season.
The Vikings were also exceptionally led by Silver Yousif (7 goals), Leo Harrison and Jakeb Tunzi.
In the closest match of the round, St Albans Saints tied with Hoppers Crossing 2, 7.11. (53) to 7.11. (53).
Trailing 25-11 after the first break, the Warriors raced back into the contest after an inspiring 4-goal third quarter to pull within 5-points heading into the final quarter.
Jasper Nicola and Bailey Razborsek were the Saints more influential players, while for Hoppers Crossing 2, Ali Elhawli and Declan Douglas performed strongly.
Second-place Caroline Springs defeated Hoppers Crossing 1 by one solitary point.
In an enthralling encounter with littler separation from start to finish, the Lakers used a, 2 goals to nil third quarter to eventually break away from a resilient Warriors outfit.
Jordan Roesler kicked a game-high 2 goals, while Jamie Ristoski polled his second consecutive best-on-ground votes for the Lakers.
For the Warriors, Callum Buckingham worked tirelessly, while the Haddara’s kicked 4 goals between themselves.
In the league’s other games, first-placed Werribee Districts 1 sent a powerful message to rival contenders Yarraville Seddon, defeating the Eagles at home by 26-points, 13.8 (86) to 9.6 (60).
Trailing after the first quarter (18-15), the league’s top ranked side used a strong second and third quarter effort to outscore the Eagles 52-10 and come away with the important victory.
Harley Blake turned in his best performance of the season for the winners, while Samuel Metcalfe and Noah Shaw (3 goals) were influential all day.
Werribee Districts 1 remain undefeated against every team inside the top four this season (Altona, Caroline Springs and Yarraville Seddon).
Elsewhere, Point Cook ended their 3-game losing streak, claiming a 30-point victory over the Districts 2, 12.10. (82) to 7.10 (52).
The Bulldogs raced out early, kicking 5 of the first 6 goals on route to a 52-16 halftime lead.
For the winners, Thomas Henderson played a well-rounded game, kicking 3 goals.
In the final game of the round Spotswood defeated Flemington Juniors 12.10. (82) to 4.8. (32).
James Cardwell kicked five goals in the win.
At the completion of Round 7, Altona’s remarkable win has lifted them to first place, while Point Cook’s gusty performance moves the Bulldogs to just one win outside the top 4.