DEVILS FIRM FOR THIRD, SHARKS HOLD ROOSTERS SCORELESS
By PADDY GRINDLAY
Four goals from Samuel Kater and a best-on-ground performance from Harry Tonks helped North Footscray ward off Wyndhamvale for a crucial win away from home, with the Devils now three games clear in fourth spot on the WRFL Division 2 ladder as the league celebrated EJ Whitten Round.
Leading at every change, the Devils’ win moves them to 32 points, at arms length to the fourth-placed Falcons and fifth-placed Glen Orden on 20 points apiece – and healthily behind on percentage.
Falcon Jesse Shell (two goals) continued his hot streak, while Liam Scarborough and Alexander Hamilton (three goals) were the home side’s finest performers.
But they could not halt the likes of Tonks, Shaun Ujcich and David Allitt as the Devils created a sturdy foundation for their finals ambitions, running out 14.9. (93) to 12.7. (79) winners.
Despite a slow start to 2022, Glen Orden looms as a late-season challenger for fourth place, but would be cursing themselves after a poor first half against Parkside at Heathdale Oval.
The Magpies’ 16.12. (108) to 7.11. (53) victory was established early after the Hawks managed just one goal before half time, trailing by 42-points at the long break.
Despite a mighty four-goal performance from Aaron Law, the margin could not be hauled in by the plucky Hawks, with Eddie Bryson and Henoch Kebede battling hard.
The consistent goalkicking of Jackson Lesko and Jy Lambley has been a staple of Magpies football this season and continued to be so, the pair booting four goals apiece.
Ned Fraser and Jackson Barrett were the destroyers as Parkside re-established their firm hold on second spot.
First-placed Point Cook Centrals weren’t expected to be troubled by winless West Footscray, but the margin of victory was certainly an eye-popping one.
In what could be mis-identified as a cricket scorecard, the Sharks were merciless, belting the Roosters 277-0.
It isn’t pretty reading, with 13 Sharks booting goals – Daniel Strnak (eight), Lachlan Grant and Aaron Williams (seven each), and Mitchell Palma (five) the main features.
Strnak was best afield for his side while Kane Liossis was the Roosters’ best.
Albion’s post-season aspirations are back on track after leaping Newport on the ladder, winning comfortably at home.
Darcy McPherson was best on ground for the Cats, and awarded the EJ Whitten Medal along with Newport’s Billy Mesto.
Newport had just three goalkickers – Mohammed Dib and Mitchell Taleb with three apiece, and Youssef El Hawli with two.
Albion’s 17.11. (113) to 8.11. (59) puts them a game out of fourth spot, with a superior percentage to Wyndhamvale and Glen Orden.
Glen Orden will have a chance to rebound when they travel to Langshaw Reserve for a clash with Newport, while West Footscray host Wyndhamvale.
Albion have a must-win match ahead with North Footscray, but the match of the day surely would be Parkside’s hosting of Point Cook Centrals, with the Magpies out for revenge after being drubbed by 67-points in Round 7.
With the match to be held at Henry Turner Reserve, Round 14 looms as a huge opportunity for the Sharks’ perfect season to be upset.